Nine members of a Mormon community of dual U.S.-Mexican citizens were killed in northern Mexico Monday in what appears to be a vicious drug cartel attack. Mexico’s minister for public security confirmed Tuesday that three women and six children were killed in broad daylight as they drove on a highway in the border state of Sonora, an area contested by organized crime groups. One vehicle reportedly stopped because of a flat tire, and assailants attacked the stranded car, killing the driver and four children, including 6-month-old twins. The attackers then set the car on fire.
Two other cars were attacked nearby, killing two women and two children. A member of the family described a scene where a child was gunned down while running away. There are believed to be at least eight survivors, including as many as seven children who reportedly escaped. Some of the escaped children were seriously wounded, including a 9-month-old who was shot in the chest and a 4-year-old shot in the back. One 13-year-old reportedly walked 14 miles to the family’s home to get help after hiding his wounded siblings in the brush.
The targets of the attack were members of a farming community of Mormon settlers that moved south of the border nearly a century ago to practice polygamy after a dispute with the church over the practice.