Published: Sun, November 10, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Massacre in Mexico calls out for justice

Massacre in Mexico calls out for justice

A bullet-riddled vehicle that members of LeBaron family were traveling in sits parked on a dirt road near Bavispe, at the Sonora-Chihuahua border, Mexico, Wednesday, Nov 6, 2019.

The three women and six children, who had dual US-Mexican citizenship, were killed in a hail of bullets Monday as they drove on a rural road between Sonora and Chihuahua, which border the United States. All of the victims were apparently related to the extended LeBaron family in Chihuahua whose members have run afoul of the drug traffickers.

"We here in the mountains, we have no access to authorities, or very, very little", David Langford said. But according to survivors who hid in a nearby woods, one of the women was shot outside her vehicle with her hands up.

Another child, a three-month-old baby, was found wounded but alive on the floor of one of the cars, where her mother had put her when the shooting began.

Julian LeBaron, another relative of the victims and a local activist, said he would welcome outside assistance to find the killers, adding that he didn't think Mexico's government was capable of stopping violence and impunity.

Sadness and anger gripped grieving relatives, and some urged Mexico's leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to accept U.S. President Donald Trump's offer to help crush the gangs.

Her mother Christina Langford Johnson, who died in the tragedy, has been credited with saving her daughter's life after stashing her vehicle seat on the floor of her SUV as gunfire rang out. "She gave her life to try and save the rest".

Nestled in the fertile valleys of the Sierra Madre mountains just a few hours drive south from the USA border, the oldest communities stem from the late 1800s, when upheaval over polygamy in the Utah-based church led to their founding. Funerals for some of the victims were held on Thursday.

Of the children who escaped, one had been shot in the face, another in the foot. Six children and three women in all were killed in the attack on the convoy of three SUVs.

"I witnessed the army, scared to go in", Miller said, standing over the graves as soft rain fell on the several hundred mourners gathered in Colonia LeBaron.

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"The truth is we aren't safe here as a community", Langford said.

He said the USA "stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively", adding, "The cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!" Two weeks ago, Mexican forces seized a son of imprisoned drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman but had to release him after cartel henchmen launched a furious counterattack in Culiacan, Sinaloa.

Miller said that with the eyes of the world upon the shocking attacks, he hopes their deaths may not be in vain and can spotlight what he deems a nationwide concern with thousands of Mexicans mourning missing and dead loved ones amid record-setting homicide levels.

Later, the two leaders spoke by telephone, and Trump offered USA assistance "to ensure the perpetrators face justice", the White House said without giving details.

Mexico thanks Trump but rejects offer of "help" with drug cartels after murder of USA family Mexico does not need "foreign intervention" to deal with its security issues, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said, following an offer of "help" from Donald Trump after the ambush and murder of an American family.

That type of round is commonly used in military-style assault rifles.

The 2009 killing of Benjamin LeBaron marked a watershed in Mexico's 2006-12 drug war.

La Mora had previously been spared violence that has killed more than 250,000 Mexicans since 2007 and touched Colonia LeBaron.

Taylor Langford said after Monday's bloodshed: "I would like to see the government actually step in and do something about the cartels rather than back down every time they wave their guns at us".

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