(KABC) –MEXICO CITY — Two U.S. government employees were shot and wounded in an attack on their vehicle south of Mexico City on Friday, a law enforcement official said.
The two were riding in an armored U.S. Embassy vehicle when they came under fire on a highway leading to the city of Cuernavaca.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said both were hospitalized, one with a wound to the leg and the other hit in the stomach and hand.
A Mexican army official said the sport utility vehicle with diplomatic plates was found after a report about a shootout on the highway. The army official was not authorized to be quoted by name. He said a Mexican navy captain was also in the vehicle, but was not injured.
The Toyota SUV was riddled with bullets, most concentrated around the passenger-side window, indicating possible involvement by experienced gunmen. [...]
Weapons courtesy of Holder’s Fast and Furious?
(AP) –The shooting occurred on road winding through a mountainous area where drug gangs, common criminals and leftist rebels have been known to be active in the past.
The scene of the shooting was cordoned off and guarded Friday by more than 100 heavily armed marines and soldiers, and the highway was closed. Investigators examined what appear to be shell casings left at the scene.
Attacks on diplomatic personnel were once considered rare, but this is the third attack in two years.
In 2011, one U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent [Brian Terry --Ed.] was killed and one wounded in a drug gang shooting in northern Mexico.
A drug-gang shooting In 2010 in the border city of Ciudad Juarez killed a U.S. consulate employee, her husband and another man.
While Mexico City has largely been spared the drug violence that hit other parts of the country, Cuernavaca has been the scene of drug gang turf battles involving remnants of the Beltran Leyva cartel.
FWIW This news (Google translation) out of Mexico reports that the attack was allegedly a attempted kidnapping.
Update: I have a bad feeling about this.
Mexico’s federal police agency acknowledged that its own officers fired on the embassy’s SUV, which appeared to be armored and has diplomatic plates. It said the officers were in the area looking for criminals, but it did not explain what happened.
Its statement said at least four vehicles fired at the embassy vehicle on a road south of the capital, but it did not clarify whether any or all of them were federal police units. Federal police spokesmen did not respond to The Associated Press requesting further comment.
A U.S. official who was briefed on the shooting said later that all the shots were fired by federal police.
Mexican prosecutors said in a statement late Friday that 12 officers based in Mexico City were being held for questioning. Officers based in the capital have jurisdiction only in Mexico City and in four suburbs of neighboring Mexico State, not in Cuernavaca.
The embassy employees were on their way to do training or related work at a military base, the U.S. official said.
“Apparently the police were looking for some bad guys and they ran into each other,” said the official, who agreed to discuss the incident only if his name was not used. “It looks like it was just a bad mistake … they just shot and kept shooting.”
Mexican officials said the Americans’ vehicle initially was fired on by a carload of gunmen who first displayed their weapons as the embassy SUV drove along a stretch of dirt road off a highway that connects Mexico City to Cuernavaca. The U.S. driver of the Toyota tried to escape, but three other vehicles joined the original one in pursuing them down the dirt road and onto the highway.
Passengers in all four vehicles fired, and the Mexican naval captain called for help, government officials said. Federal police officers and Mexican soldiers then showed up on the road.
The SUV stopped on the highway, but it wasn’t clear if the driver was halted by the chasers or stopped because of the wounds.