You’ve heard the news. Two US Embassy Mexico employees were wounded in the shooting of an embassy SUV with a diplomatic plate on August 24. The wounded were described as “US Embassy officials” here. The LAT calls them “U.S. government employees” here. CNN originally described the injured as “three U.S. Marines” here.
We’ve been waiting for an official statement from the US Embassy in Mexico. A statement finally came out late August 24, 2012. See below:
Mexico City, August 24, 2012 – This morning two U.S. Government personnel and a Mexican Navy captain were in a U.S diplomatic vehicle driving to a training facility, when they were ambushed by a group of individuals.
The vehicle attempted to escape, was pursued and sustained heavy damage. They called for assistance from the Mexican armed forces, who responded. The two U.S. wounded personnel were taken from the scene, given medical treatment and are in stable condition. The Mexican Navy captain sustained no serious injuries.
The Government of Mexico has acknowledged that members of the Federal Police were involved and fired on the U.S. Embassy vehicle. The Government of Mexico has begun an investigation and detained members of the Federal Police who were involved.
The Government of Mexico has stated it will conduct a full and thorough investigation of this incident. The Embassy has been cooperating closely with the Mexican authorities and will assist in every way possible.
The Reuters report cites a Mexican government security official saying that the federal police had thought the vehicle belonged to a group of suspected kidnappers they were pursuing, and had opened fire on it.
“This was all because of a mix-up,” the official said.
CNN has more details:
The incident occurred at 8 a.m. Friday, when the two embassy employees and the Mexican were en route through the mountainous area to a navy facility in the municipality of Xalatlaco, according to a statement issued Friday by the Mexican Navy, which gave the following account:
The black SUV bearing a diplomatic license plate had just left the main highway that connects Mexico City with Cuernavaca and were driving on a dirt road that connects the small towns of Tres Marias and Huitzilac when a vehicle approached. When the occupants brandished firearms, the driver of the diplomatic vehicle tried to evade them and return to the main highway. At that point, the occupants sprayed bullets into the black SUV with diplomatic plates.
Moments later, another three vehicles joined the chase and fired shots at the embassy vehicle. The Mexican in the SUV called for help from the Mexican Navy personnel in nearby El Capulin who arrived after the shooting had ended and cordoned off the area.
Federal police, who were in the area working on a criminal investigation, participated in these acts, the statement said, but did not specify which vehicle or vehicles they were in.
Both embassy employees were taken — under federal police guard — to a hospital.
Photographs of the SUV showed the embassy vehicle pockmarked with more than a dozen holes and at least three of its tires flat.
Potential to Get Swept Under the Rug?
Sylvia Longmire, a drug war cartel analyst and author of “Cartel: the Coming Invasion of Mexico’s Drug Wars” told CNN that the long-term impact of the shooting will depend on how aggressively the Mexican government pursues the investigation.
“I’m somewhat skeptical that anyone will be brought to justice in this attack,” she told CNN Saturday. “Remember, nobody knows who shot the Americans. They’re still going to have to do ballistic reports.”
Though federal police have a reputation for being among the least corrupt of Mexico’s security forces, “I’m concerned that there is a potential for this to get swept under the rug,” she said.
Read in full here.
Attacks on USG Personnel in the Last 3 Years
This is not the first incident involving shooting and death of US mission personnel in Mexico.
In February 2011, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent was killed and another wounded while driving through northern Mexico.
In March 2010, three individuals connected to the US Consulate in Ciudad Juarez were killed in broad daylight. The AP says that the 2010 incident as “A drug-gang shooting in 2010 in the border city of Ciudad Juarez [that] killed a U.S. consulate employee, her husband and another man.” We still haven’t been able to connect those dots. The Barrio Azteca leader was extradited from Mexico in June this year, but the case remains toner dark.
How, where, when U.S. Consulate employee Leslie Ann Enriquez Catton, her husband Arthur Redelfs and Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, the husband of a U.S. Consulate employee were dot–connected to a drug-gang that caused their deaths, we still don’t know.
And we may never know.
- Mexican federal police wound 2 Americans in attack on U.S. Embassy vehicle (mcclatchydc.com)
- 2 U.S. Government Employees Hurt in Mexico Shooting (nytimes.com)
- 3 U.S. Marines shot in Mexico… (news.blogs.cnn.com)
- Mexican Federal Police attack U.S. diplomatic vehicle (cnn.com)
- US embassy staff shot at by Mexican police (guardian.co.uk)