Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

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Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

Siskiyou_Kid


In this Sept. 15, 2014 photo, a woman who did not want to give her name for fear of reprisals, holds up a photograph of her late 15-year-old daughter Erika Gomez Gonzalez, at her home in Arcelia, Mexico. The woman says she witnessed her child's death when army soldiers fired first at an armed group at a grain warehouse on June 30 in the town of San Pedro Limon, Mexico. She said one man died in the initial shootout, when the rest of the gunmen surrendered on the promise they would not be hurt. She recalls that her daughter, who was face down in the ground with a bullet in her leg, was rolled over while she was still alive and shot more than half a dozen times in the chest. The mother said she arrived to the warehouse the day before the shooting, in an attempt to take her daughter home, but gang members wouldn't let her. Photo: Eduardo Castillo, AP

Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

ARCELIA, Mexico (AP) — A woman says she saw Mexican soldiers shoot and kill her 15-year-old daughter after a confrontation with a suspected drug gang even though the teenager was lying wounded on the ground. Twenty others also were shot and killed in rural southern Mexico after they surrendered and were disarmed, the mother told The Associated Press.

The Mexican government has maintained that all died during a fierce shootout when soldiers were fired on in the early morning of June 30. That version came into question because government troops suffered only one wounded, and physical evidence at the scene pointed toward more selective killings.

The witness said the army fired first at the armed group holed up at the warehouse. She said one gunman died in the initial shootout, and another gang member and her daughter were wounded. The rest of the gunmen surrendered on the promise they would not be hurt, she said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

After the gang surrendered, the girl, Erika Gomez Gonzalez, lay face down in the ground, a bullet wound in her leg. Soldiers rolled her over while she was still alive and shot her more than half a dozen times in the chest, her mother said. Another suspected gang member was injured in the initial attack.

"A soldier stood the kid up and killed him," said the witness, who said she had gone to the warehouse the night before to try to retrieve her daughter from the gang she had apparently joined.

The soldiers interrogated the rest of the gang members in front of the warehouse, and then took them inside one-by-one, she said. From where she stood just outside the warehouse and in army custody, she heard gunshots and moans of the dying.

Several days after the killings, AP reporters visited and took pictures of the warehouse and found little evidence of sustained fighting. There were few stray bullet marks and no shell casings. At least five spots along the warehouse's inside walls showed the same pattern: One or two closely placed bullet pocks, surrounded by a mass of spattered blood, giving the appearance that some of those killed had been standing against the wall and shot at about chest level.

After the AP report, the state of Mexico prosecutors' office released a statement saying there was "no evidence at all of possible executions." The office said it found ballistic evidence of "crossfire with a proportionate interchange of gunshots."

The state government refused to release autopsy reports the AP requested under Mexico's freedom of information law, declaring them state secrets to be guarded for nine years.

Interviewed separately, relatives of three other gang members who were killed and a doctor who saw Erika's body said the wounds were consistent with the mother's account of how they were killed — with an incapacitating wound and a burst of gunshots to the chest. The death certificate for Erika, seen by reporters, confirmed that she died on June 30 outside the town of San Pedro Limon, where the killings occurred, and gave bullet wounds as the cause of death. There are no details in the certificate on ballistics or the type of weapon used. The gravestones of two other of those killed, Marcos Salgado Burgos, 20, and his brother, Juan Jose Salgado Burgos, 18, also record their death on June 30.

Separately, a teenager in the nearby town of Ixcapuzalco, said his older brother was among the 22 dead. He said he saw the body and said there was a bullet wound to the left leg — "it destroyed his knee" — and a shot through the back with an exit wound through the chest. His account could not be independently corroborated.

None of the relatives wanted to be identified for fear of reprisals. The army and the state of Mexico so far have not provided a list of those killed. Human Rights Watch has demanded that the case be thoroughly investigated and that the witness be protected.


FILE - In this July 3, 2014 file photo, a state police vehicle sits parked outside a warehouse that was the site of a shootout between Mexican soldiers and alleged criminals on the outskirts of the village of San Pedro Limon, in Mexico state, Mexico. An eyewitness to the confrontation says all but one of the 22 victims were shot after they had surrendered to the army and were disarmed. The Mexican government has maintained that those killed on the early morning of June 30 died in a fierce shootout with security forces, a version that came into question because government troops suffered only one wounded, and physical evidence at the scene pointed toward more selective killings. Photo: Rebecca Blackwell, AP

According to Erika's mother, the shootout was initiated by the army, a violation of its own rules of engagement, which allow soldiers to fire on armed civilians only if the civilians fire first, and if soldiers' or civilians' lives are in danger. The army did not respond to requests for comment.

The federal attorney general's office said there is an open investigation into the incident but that no evidence has been found so far to corroborate the witness' account, originally reported by the magazine Esquire Latinoamerica.

The woman spoke angrily last weekend about her daughter's death. She said she spent a sleepless night sitting on a pile of bricks on June 29, after arriving to retrieve her runaway daughter.

The girl was involved with the wrong crowd, she said. The group had traveled from the town of Arcelia in Guerrero state to nearby San Pedro Limon in three pickups with guns. All were teenagers or in their early 20s. Little is known about what the gang was up to or had been doing in the days before the shootings.

Local officials said Arcelia is controlled by the La Familia drug gang, which was run out of Michoacan state, where it was founded and now controls parts of the impoverished Tierra Caliente, or hot land, in neighboring Guerrero. Drug trafficking and conflicts with the military have occurred there for decades. Some farmers grow and traffic marijuana and poppies for opium, and violence is common.

Recently, supporters of the gang blocked roads and burned four Coca Cola trucks, leading the soft drink company to shutter its distribution center in Arcelia. Local journalists say they have been threatened for publishing stories the drug cartel didn't like.

It was unclear if the AP was allowed to report freely in the area because the story casts the army in a poor light. But the gang appeared to keep close tabs on AP reporters while they were in the region. During an interview with the dead girl's mother in a parking lot, a young man appeared, arms propped on the back of a pickup truck, staring fixedly and remaining until the end.

The area is patrolled heavily by army and marine units. When reporters were at a local soccer match interviewing a relative of the two dead brothers, a three-man marine detachment stood nearby. The unit's leader told the journalists, "It's my turn to interview you," and asked them what they were doing and where they were staying. Other marines photographed the journalists and their press I.D. cards.

Recalling the morning of her daughter's death, the mother said confusion broke out inside the warehouse before dawn when one of the young gunmen appeared, shouting, "They're on us!"

Troops from the Mexican army's 22nd military zone were on patrol. Soldiers trained a spotlight on the warehouse and opened fire on those inside, she said.

After an initial exchange of gunfire, soldiers called out to those inside, saying their lives would be spared if they surrendered. They walked out with their hands on the back of their necks, she said.

The soldiers took her, two other women and two young men who claimed to be kidnap victims to a semi-enclosed room at one side of the entrance to the warehouse.

From there, under soldiers' custody, the woman could only catch glimpses of what was happening inside

"I was afraid to see too much," she said, noting some of the detainees were shot standing, some were kneeling.

After a couple of hours, the two men who had claimed to be kidnap victim were separated from the three women, taken off by soldiers and shot, apparently because they did not believe their claims, she said.

The army said in its initial press release that soldiers rescued three women who were kidnap victims. The mother says she was one of three women taken by the army to the Mexico state capital, Toluca, and turned over to a state prosecutors' agent. The other two women were promptly arrested and are still in custody.

The mother said she was photographed next to the guns confiscated from the gang and told she too would be arrested if she didn't cooperate with authorities and confirm their version of events. She said she did not know the agent's name, but described her as a tall woman with close-cropped hair who was constantly holding a cigarette. She was later taken to the federal attorney general's organized crime unit in Mexico City, and finally released with no charges.

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/crime/article/Witness-21-killed-by-Mexico-army-had-surrendered-5764667.php
Those that say, don't know. Those that know, don't say.
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Re: Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

TexcocoDeMora
I'm sorry to say it, but are we loosing something with this criminals getting killed? I don't think so. They were 24 or more armed criminals, on an empty building at 3 am, must likely from La Familia Michoacana.

In Mexico the criminals were the only ones using capital punishment, I think it is about time the military do the same thing.  
http://narcconoticias.blogspot.com/
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Re: Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

Tiso
Ive got to agree with you. Dont want to get shot? Dont hang out with gang members.

I know im oversimplifying, but look, everyone in Mexico has heard these stories, so they know what time it is. Its a drug war, literally.
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Re: Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

Siskiyou_Kid
In reply to this post by TexcocoDeMora
That's ridiculous.

Without rule of law, Mexico will never be functional country, and rule of law starts with the government, not the delinquents.

That's not to say I wouldn't like to see a few criminals summarily executed, but murdering kids in cold blood for hanging out with the wrong crowd? That is sick and wrong.
Those that say, don't know. Those that know, don't say.
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Re: Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

Chivis
Administrator
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by TexcocoDeMora
we cannot as a civil society allow police to become judge and jury in cases of surrender.  
or we become like criminals.

we have had this discussion before when you asked the same thing Texcoco.

Three of those killed were men who were unarmed and said they were kidnapped, the soldiers killed them anyway.  all of the teens and young people other than the 6 belonged to a cell of the guerreros unidos, this is true.  But if there was no shooting, they were unarmed with hands laced behind their neck, surrendering to soldiers.

If you can't see what is wrong with that, then nothing I say will matter to you.

I will concede many will agree with you, reacting in a knee jerk emotional manner and not think things through.

there is no indication that these young punks ever killed anyone, it seems they are a cell of young kidnappers working for the cartel.  No one knows, after 3 months, which is the point, they should have been arrested, interrogated, gain information, and they should have been judged in the courts.
 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
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Re: Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

Chivis
Administrator
In reply to this post by Siskiyou_Kid
Kid

I have followed this case since jul1.  I did not write about it because something stunk.  then the story by soldiers changed, and everything began to unfold.  

I wish I would have seen this translation before I did mine. :(

but mine includes different photos I have collected along the way since Jul1, and also additional information.

The poor lady.  How she could have not attacked the soldiers with words or fists is amazing.  I would have and I would have been killed.  
 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
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Re: Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

Siskiyou_Kid
Yeah, I had a feeling you would be working on this story, and have more info than the AP or Insight Crime.

This poor woman, losing her daughter first to the criminals, only to have her murdered by the soldiers.
Those that say, don't know. Those that know, don't say.
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Re: Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

carlitos
Unfortunately, and i really mean that, nothing will ever happen. Nothing will ever change. The poor will always get the short end and no one that should care will care.

Such difficult thing to process.
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Re: Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

choco
In reply to this post by Chivis
Oooops... My post disappeared. I will re-post when I get to my computer...
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Re: Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

Chivis
Administrator
In reply to this post by Siskiyou_Kid
I remember when it happened, the reports said they were "living" in the empty buildings.  a MB reader brought up a good point, in that area, a practice I know was created by LFM was to kidnap teens to work for them, right out of their homes, or off the streets.

I wish they could expose what happened.  and a MB'er mentioned the 3 males who said they were kidnapped.  they probably were.  but were killed anyway.  

 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
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Re: Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

katattx
In reply to this post by Chivis
I would say that the only way a criminal should be put to death is after a guilty finding by a jury of peers, ideally in a fair evenhanded environment. I can relate to the knee jerk reaction of many who think summary execution is the key, but I think the chance of executing an innocent is just too great for the army to just line em up and shoot them on the spot. At least put some due process in there!
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Re: Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

Chivis
Administrator
very well said...
 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
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Re: Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

Mexico-Watcher
This post was updated on .
 This fascinating case has many forensic elements that if pursued scientifically (i.e. objectively, honestly) should prove or disprove whether or not the Mexican Army systematically murdered "surrendered" individuals.  The Associated Press (AP) article has enough information in it to suggest a bona fide State Massacre in the style of the Nazi atrocities of WW II and those of ISIS terrorists in the Middle East today.  If so, then we have another instance supporting the charge that Mexico is a FAILED STATE.

If there was a State massacre and applied intimidation of the press, and witnesses, and "stonewalling and or cover up" then it is no wonder Mexican citizens fear their government, do not trust its politicians and criminal justice system  and other governmental institutions,... And, as Dr. Mireles said, months ago [paraphrased]: "We got tired of X,Y, Z crimes, impunity of criminals, and no support from government that we finally decided to protect ourselves to form our  auto defense group."

The Mainstream Media: IMO, Mexico is being protected from discovery of its Failed State status by  the American Main Stream Media (MSM). Why does the American MSM seem to "refuse" to cover obviously  "newsworthy" heinous atrocities in Mexico. My files include many stories (with graphic videos, pictures, accounts) of Mexican atrocities that include beheading, dismemberment, flaying faces, pozole, guiso, hanging ... even feeding people to lions.  

Among many others, I particularly recall the "lack" of news coverage in the US,  where a whole family of dad, mom, granny, grandpa, and their little kids were decapitated in their home.  How f%$King newsworthy is that?  I am sure that you readers can think of certain stories the American MSM seemed to ignore.

[Yes, I admit that some of these notable atrocities are "briefly" and "superficially" covered as in the San Fernando massacre.... but, this seems only because the news cannot be contained.... Note how fast such stories disappear and thing move on to less disturbing things.

ISIS: The Muslim organization, ISIS, beheads a couple of American journalists and post the videos, and the American MSM reacts, ad nueseum,  as if Western Civilization is threatened with extinction by Muslims! As we speak, very serious military reactions involving drones, smart bombs, fighter planes, coalition armies, etc. are mobilizing in reaction to ISIS.

For years, where have FOX, CNN, MSNBC, AP, etc. been with respect to the gross evils in Mexico.... The MSM outlets should be ashamed to call themselves "news" media.  No, we get tons of coverage on relatively "trivial" crime events for days, and days, and days. [Yes, I know that books and videos are available to those interested people; but, here, I am focused on the general public awarenesses.... in part, because the general public can have positive reactive effects on things...."if" they know what is going on.]

Increasingly, with respect to the MSM, I  think we citizens are living in a bizarre world of "smoke and mirrors".... misdirection, fillers of trivia, and outright propaganda that would Herr Goebbels feel inadequate.

Sometime to test my dismay concerning Mexican events, I share clearly newsworthy heinous crimes in  Mexico with friends to see if they have seen or heard anything on the MSM.  I get mostly blank expression of ignorance and are somewhat taken aback that the MSM ignored the stories.

I have been doing my little "testing" for years now, and I am increasingly forced to suspect that the American MSM  is somehow "compromised" to ignore certain newsworthy stories out of Mexico for reasons I can't understand.

Maybe some of you Borderland Beat members can jump in and tell us what you think about our American MSM with respect to Mexico.  I need some help sorting this problem out because of other larger issues in my "valdecito de gusanos"(little bucket of worms).  

Gracias 

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Re: Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

Tijuano
In reply to this post by Siskiyou_Kid
I don´t know what happened, I wasn´t there so I can´t say if the mother is either telling the truth or just trying to clean up her daughter´s name.

What I do know is how many soldiers feel about cartels and its members, I have several friends who are current and former members of the Mexican Army and I can tell you they feel frustrated with Mexico´s legal system, they are tired of capturing criminals and seeing how they are left free after bribing a MP or judge.

A close friend of mine once told me about how they used to apply what is know in Mexico as "Ley Fuga"(Escape law?) to guys who got caught with weapons and surrendered to them. To those who don´t know, it´s basically telling the criminals to run and if they can escape then they are free to go, obviously 99% of the time they end up dead trying to run from the shots.

My guess is soldiers just thought it was better overall for society to get rid of them than to take them to a corrupt judge who would set them free in a week or two. Did they do the right thing? Not in my opinion, but I can see why they did it and honestly can´t blame them much.
Si vis pacem, para bellum
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Re: Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

elcienporcien
In reply to this post by Siskiyou_Kid
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