Two American Catholic school boys and another teen were shot and killed after gunmen attacked a car dealership in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, part of a deadly spree that killed nine people over the weekend.
The boys had crossed the border from El Paso, Tex., for a party on Friday night and were gunned down on Saturday afternoon while checking out a used car that one of them was interested in buying, the Chihuahua state attorney general’s office said.
The two Americans were identified as Carlos Mario Gonzalez Bermudez, 16, a sophomore at Cathedral High School, an all-boys private school in El Paso, and Juan Carlos Echeverri, 15, who had attended Cathedral last year but was in school in Juárez, the school’s principal said.
The third teen was identified as Cesar Yalin Miramontes Jimenez, 17, but his nationality wasn’t known.
Chihuahua prosecutors’ spokesman Arturo Sandoval told CNN that the three were friends who had known each other for a long time.
Family members told MSNBC that the boys were having something to eat at a restaurant near the U.S.-Mexico border when they decided to stop at the dealership, which was across the street.
Shortly thereafter, a gang of thugs showed up and asked for the dealership’s owner.
When they were told the owner was not there, they opened fire.
Two of the victims were found in a courtyard, while a third was in a white Jeep Cherokee.
Police found at least 60 bullet casings at the scene that appeared to have been fired from an AK-47, the weapon of choice for drug gangs in northern Mexico.
Sandoval said there were no leads or suspects in the massacre.
Cathedral Principal Nick Gonzalez said the school’s student body was praying for the victims.
“It’s a lot of pain, a lot of sorrow, a lot of tears, a lot of coming together as a community to try to hold each other up and to try and make sense today,” Gonzalez told MSNBC.
The principal told CNN that Bermudez was “a good kid” whose family had lived in Juárez but had recently rented an apartment in El Paso for safety reasons.
Both Bermudez and Echeverri were U.S. citizens, Gonzalez said.
The students were killed in one of three triple homicides that took place this weekend in Juárez. A 13-year-old boy was among the slain in one of those attacks.
At least eight other people were killed in northern Mexico this weekend.
Juárez has become a central battleground for warring drug cartels in Northern Mexico.
Nearly 2,900 people were killed there in 2010, including more than a dozen Americans.
More than 30,000 people have been killed across Mexico since 2006, when the government launched a crackdown on the drug trade, and three times as many people have been murdered in Juárez than in any other city in Mexico, according to the U.S. State Department.
– Article from The New York Daily News.