Dead body
The killings took place Sunday on a roadway in Nuevo Laredo, which is across the border from Laredo, Texas. This is a representational image. Pixabay

A Mexican man said on Monday, Apr. 17 that members of Mexico's quasi-military National Guard opened fire on his SUV in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, killing his pregnant 15-year-old girlfriend and a 54-year-old friend while injuring two others.

The murders occur almost two months after a military raid in the cartel-dominated city of Nuevo Laredo on Feb. 26 shot and killed five men.

As a result of the charges against four soldiers in that instance, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has come under increased fire for his efforts to give the military a bigger role in law enforcement.

The killings took place Sunday on a roadway in Nuevo Laredo, which is across the border from Laredo, Texas, according to a complaint made Monday by the local nonprofit organization the Human Rights Committee of Nuevo Laredo on behalf of the SUV's driver and other victims.

The young woman and her unborn child were both killed in the shooting.

One 24-year-old woman is still in the hospital.

The motorist observed a National Guard patrol car started to follow him, according to the complaint, which was sent to López Obrador, the Interior and Defense ministers, and the government's human rights committee.

The driver claimed that the patrol car abruptly started firing, primarily striking passengers in the SUV's back seat.

Luis Rodrguez Santiago, the driver, claimed he lost control of the car after swerving into the opposite lane of the highway to avoid the gunshots. The car then crashed into a lane barrier.

Rodrguez Santiago claimed that after getting hurt, he attempted to reach his pregnant, injured girlfriend, AP News reported.

"The soldiers shouted at me, 'Get back, get back ... or we'll kill you," according to the complaint. "Then the National Guard got into their truck and left."

Within minutes, a second National Guard highway police car arrived and requested ambulances.

The complaint's description of the shooting is generally supported by a police crime-scene report on the incident. It stated that 83 shell casings were discovered by authorities at the area where the shot-up SUV came to rest after colliding with a highway barrier.

When Veronica Trevio, a 24-year-old woman who had been shot, was questioned by investigators later in a hospital, she claimed that "they started to shoot at us without any apparent reason."

The passengers provided descriptions of the force's clothes, which are light grey camouflage, and its usual white National Guard pickup trucks.

The National Guard may have been after a fleeing truck full of gunmen who were firing at the police car, according to information provided to investigators by another passenger in the vehicle.

According to the witness, the SUV of the civilians may have unintentionally collided with the patrol while it was being pursued by the Guard vehicle as it passed the fleeing truck, thus prompting the Guard officer to believe it was a part of the attack.

Local officials in the state of Tamaulipas have apparently referred the case to federal prosecutors since it involves federal forces.

In order to immediately subordinate the National Guard to the Defense Department, López Obrador established it as his primary law enforcement organization. All recruits are trained by the Army, and the vast majority of National Guard officers are on loan from the Army.

Human rights organizations have opposed this strategy, calling it the militarization of civilian law enforcement.

They claim that the armed forces are unprepared to serve as police officers and are prone to using excessive force.

The shootings are reminiscent of the Army deaths on Feb. 26 that sparked controversy since the people inside the pickup truck that the army opened fire on appeared to be unarmed.

In a report on the event that occurred on Feb. 26, the government's National Human Rights Commission stated that troops in four patrol vehicles had trailed the pickup in the early morning hours based only on a "suspicion" and had not engaged the vehicle according to protocol.

Army and guard patrols in Nuevo Laredo are constantly on guard due to the vast number of hitmen employed by the Northeast cartel.

Military abuses of human rights have previously taken place in the city.

30 marines were handed up by the Mexican military to civilian prosecutors in 2021 so they could stand trial for the 2014 disappearances of persons during anti-crime operations in Nuevo Laredo.

Marines were accused of collecting up potential suspects, some of whom were never seen or heard from again. Numerous people vanished in Nuevo Laredo throughout 2018.

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