SALT LAKE CITY — Mexican leaders confirmed Tuesday morning that at least 9 U.S. citizens have been killed in northern Mexico, and relatives in Utah confirm they lost six children and three women to the violence.
Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo told the media that the group was traveling in a caravan of large SUVs that gunmen may have mistaken as a rival gang. Durazo also said that five of the injured were transferred to hospitals. Durazo also said that authorities are still searching for a missing child.
A Spokesman for the U.S. State Department confirmed to KSL on Monday night that they were aware of the reports.
“The safety and welfare of U.S. citizens abroad is among the Department of State’s top priorities. When a U.S. citizen is missing or passes away overseas, we engage with local officials at multiple levels and provide all appropriate consular assistance,” they say.
Tuesday morning President Trump offered the United States’ help “cleaning out” the cartels from Mexico.
“A wonderful family and friends from Utah got caught between two vicious drug cartels, who were shooting at each other, with the result being many great American people killed, including young children, and some missing,” the President tweeted.
“If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively. The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!”
A wonderful family and friends from Utah got caught between two vicious drug cartels, who were shooting at each other, with the result being many great American people killed, including young children, and some missing. If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2019
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says there is a lot that they don’t know and that he didn’t want to speculate, but that he would reach out to President Trump and see if there is a possibility to ask for assistance.
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) also shared his condolences, saying, “Ann and I are heartbroken for the victims of the horrific attacks in Mexico. Our prayers are with their families who have suffered such an unspeakable tragedy. The U.S. must work with Mexican officials to hold accountable those responsible for this senseless violence.”
Ann and I are heartbroken for the victims of the horrific attacks in Mexico. Our prayers are with their families who have suffered such an unspeakable tragedy. The U.S. must work with Mexican officials to hold accountable those responsible for this senseless violence.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) November 5, 2019
There are conflicting reports about why the family was traveling that day. NBC News reports that the women and their children were traveling to Arizona for a shopping trip. CBS News reports that the family was traveling back for a wedding.
Information currently available indicates the cars were stopped near the town of Bavispe, about 100 miles south of the Arizona border when the shootings began.
Speaking to KSLTV, Taylor Langford, a family member who was born and raised in that area of Mexico but is now living in Utah, said that the violence lasted much of Monday leaving his parents no choice but to stay inside before they could go and see what happened.
“It’s not just got caught in gunfire in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Langford told KSL. “This was a whole new level of cartel violence.”
This story will be updated.
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