Oklahoma boy, 13, shot dead and relatives injured by cartel gunmen on 'high risk' Mexico highway on way to US

The family's vehicle was rammed by the cartel gunmen after they refused to stop, and all of them were then shot at

                            Oklahoma boy, 13, shot dead and relatives injured by cartel gunmen on 'high risk' Mexico highway on way to US
(Source: Getty Images)

A teenage Oklahoma boy was shot and killed, and his parents injured, after gunmen believed to be affiliated with one of Mexico's drug cartels, targeted them as they were traveling back to the US via a "high risk" highway.

José Silva Mendoza, 48, his wife, Juanita Castillo López, 42, their 13-year-old son scar Castillo López, as well as another son, 10, and a relative were driving to the US border on Reynosa-Nuevo Laredo Highway, Los Arcos, on Saturday, January 4, when the horrific incident unfolded.

As they were driving, they were asked to stop and pull over by gunmen belonging to the Cártel del Noreste, according to the Daily Mail. When they refused, the gunmen are believed to have collided their vehicle into the family's Chevrolet Traverse SUV.

The family was then forced out of the car, and all of them were shot. While the mother, father, and the other son survived and are in a stable condition in a hospital in Cerralvo, Nuevo Leon, the 13-year-old boy succumbed to his injuries. The relative was in another car and was unhurt.

Investigating officers and military personnel who responded to the scene found three cars with "crash impacts," of which one had plates from the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, while the other two had Oklahoma plates. The attackers are suspected to have fled in another vehicle.

The attorney general of Tamaulipas confirmed the teenager was a US citizen and his parents are permanent residents of the US, but did not comment further.

The highway on which they were ambushed connects the city of Mier with Nueva Ciudad Guerrero and is reportedly hotly contested by multiple rival gangs, including the Gulf Cartel and the Los Zetas.

This attack comes a little over two months after nine US citizens belonging to a Mormon community, including women and young children, were gunned down by cartel members as they were traveling from Bavispe to a wedding in LaBaron, Chihuahua.

It is still unclear at this time why Mendoza and his family were targeted by the gunmen.

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