Military Admits Soldiers Shot Without Provocation – Five Killed in Nuevo Laredo Follow Up

“HEARST” and “Redlogarythm” for Borderland Beat 

In their press release, the Army seemingly admitted to firing at the men without provocation in Nuevo Laredo. 

Meanwhile, the official police report claims that soldiers heard gunfire right before they fired while also revealing that nothing illicit was found in the vehicle. 

This story is a follow up to yesterday’s story covering the controversial military shooting of five men in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, which you can read here

Warning: Some graphic images below this point. 

The Results of The Military Investigation

At around 5:00 pm on February 28, 2023, the military sent out a press release which presented the current findings of their investigation into the Nuevo Laredo incident. It reads as follows: 

The Ministry of National Defense briefs the public about the events that took place on February 26, 2023, in the city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.

At approximately 4:50 am on Sunday, February 26, 2023, military personnel from a base in Nuevo Laredo, who were conducting reconnaissance in the urban area, as part of public security, heard gunshots, which put them on alert, and they advanced towards the noise. 

Then, they saw a pickup-style truck with seven individuals on board, who were speeding with their lights off and without a license plate. The vehicle’s passengers, upon observing the presence of the troops, accelerated their speed in a reckless and evasive manner, and they then crashed into a vehicle that was parked.   

In this situation, after hearing a loud noise, military personnel fired their weapons; this aspect is currently being investigated by various government authorities in order to determine its veracity. 

Initially, one person was unharmed, one was wounded and five were killed. The person who was wounded was given medical attention, requesting the support of an ambulance to transport him to a health facility.

In response to these events, the following actions were taken:

– Coordination with the federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR), in order to collaborate with the investigations and proceedings for the integration of the investigation file.  

– Coordination and close collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission, in order to facilitate their investigations.  

– Corresponding investigations by the General Prosecutor’s Office of Military Justice, with regard to the actions carried out by the personnel involved in the military sphere.   

– A dialogue was opened with the families, through the Citizen Liaison Unit of the Ministry of National Defense, in order to provide the corresponding assistance for these types of cases.   

The Mexican Army and Air Force reaffirm their commitment to work in strict adherence to the rule of law and with full respect for human rights, providing all facilities to the authorities and to national and state human rights organizations, complying with any resolution determined by the authorities.

The Army and Air Force,

The Great Force of Mexico

A key section of the statement is oddly phrased. The Army wrote “in this situation, upon hearing a loud noise, military personnel fired their weapons”. This is phrased as a statement of fact and not as an allegation. 

The first phrase ends with a semicolon and the sentence continues to say “this aspect is currently being investigated by various government authorities in order to determine its veracity,” which seems to imply it is not a matter of fact but still something being investigated. 

The Official Police Report

Recently, the Spanish newspaper El Pais published what they allege is the official police report on the incident, with appropriate redactions made.

Although the beginning of the report is largely the same, it later begins to provide a number of important new details that were not included in the Army’s press release.

The police report reads as follows, as translated by Redlogarythm: 

“It was approximately 5:00 am of February 23 2023, while on service from El Laguito operational base on board of 4 military vehicles the first one being a Cheyenne n. (…), the second one being a Cheyenne n. (…), the third one being a Cheyenne n. (…) and the fourth one being a Sandcat n. (…) , with 20 soldiers on board of the 4 vehicles at the orders of Cavalry Captain 2nd class (…). “

While we were on reconnaissance duties and patrolling by Mier Street, in the Cavazos Lerma neighborhood, we heard gunshots and -not knowing where the gunshots came from- we arrived at Huasteca Street where we saw a white pickup type vehicle that accelerated after seeing the military presence, so we began to follow it. “

“We turned right on to Huasteca Street, observing that the vehicle had just hit another vehicle. “

Having reached the intersection between Huasteca and Méndez Streets, the vehicle stopped after going another block and two of our vehicles n. (…) and (…) arrived at the same point and heard new gunshot noises. 

At this moment, I, as the Cavalry Captain 2nd class, responsible for the aforementioned personnel, heard several soldiers started shooting without me giving the order to do so – so I used the radio to order a ceasefire. 

“After that, I descended from the vehicle and asked who had shot. The following four elements voluntarily answered that they had:

– Cavalry Corporal (…) 

– Cavalry Corporal (…) 

– Cavalry Corporal (…) 

– Cavalry Corporal (…) “

“Once the shots had ceased, we cordoned off the area and me and Corporal (…) started inspecting the vehicle in which we found 5 males – 3 were dead, 1 was wounded and another person that was not harmed.”

“The deceased men were located (respectively) in  (1) the driver seat, (2) between the driver and front passenger, (3) on the right side of the back seat. 

The wounded man was located on the left side of the back seat and the unharmed man was in the center of the pickup truck’s cargo bed. Outside of the vehicle, we found 2 additional deceased males.”

“So, at approximately 5:20 am, I informed the higher leadership of the facts of this incident and requested that personnel from the Attorney General’s Office begin collecting evidence from the scene.”

The Witness Testimony 

El Pais also published sections of alleged testimony from 21-year old Alejandro Pérez, the man who survived the incident unharmed. 

They write “The young man explains that he and his friends went to a nightclub in the city on Saturday night and how, on their way back, a military convoy began to chase them.”

“He then explains that one of the military trucks collided with their vehicle from behind and how, immediately afterwards, the soldiers began shooting. He insists that none of them [his friends] fired shots prior. In fact, he insists, they did not carry any weapons.”

“When I got out of the truck, I heard the military saying, ‘kill him, kill him!’ They pushed me to the ground. Then I heard two more gunshots, and later I saw my brother lying on the ground.”

“I managed to see how a soldier shot my friend who was already wounded. He [the friend] asked for an ambulance, but a soldier shot him again.”

“Then, they [the soldiers] asked me if I wanted to live or die and I told them that I wanted to live. And they told me to admit our guilt, while they videotaped me, admit that we were running away, which is not true.”

Alejandro Pérez says that eventually he gave in and repeated what they said while a soldier recorded the message with his cell phone.

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