Mexican navy says it didn’t shoot civilians in border city
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s navy said Monday that a helicopter called in to support marines after they were ambushed in the border city of Nuevo Laredo didn’t kill the bystanders who died.
The navy did not say how many civilians died during clashes, but local media reported Monday that a mother and two children were killed.
The navy said in a statement that the bystanders were hit from the ground — not the air — and their wounds were caused by a type of bullet not used by the helicopter crew.
The operations in Nuevo Laredo, across the border from Laredo, Texas, left a marine and four suspected gunmen dead and 12 marines wounded.
The Tamaulipas state government did not respond to requests for information on the civilians killed. It only said that it “expressed its unqualified support for the Navy in its security operations in the state” and sent condolences “to the victims” in the shootouts.
Gun battles late Saturday and early Sunday illustrate the level of drug gang violence in Nuevo Laredo, a city dominated by the Northeast Cartel, an offshoot of the Zetas cartel.
Authorities said marines were ambushed three separate times.
Marines returned fire and killed one gunman in the first attack, but suffered three wounded.
Another patrol was sent to help the wounded when it also came under fire; that ambush killed one marine and wounded several others.
A third patrol was ambushed just outside the marine base as it responded to the first two attacks. In that shootout, three gunmen were killed.
Finally, a helicopter gunship was called in.
Mexico’s navy said in a statement that the gunmen had fake marine uniforms and markings on their vehicles.