Sister City erupts again with widespread gunbattles
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Thursday, July 22, 2010 2:26 AM CDT
More bloody gunbattles erupted in Nuevo Laredo on Wednesday night, leaving several people dead and an unknown number injured as armed gunmen fought each other through the streets near the center of the city, on Colosio Boulevard in the Parque Viveros area, on Guerrero, on Reforma and other parts of the city.
“I saw a dead body hanging out of a car,” near the restored historic train station downtown, said one witness who asked not to be identified.
Most of the heavy violence seemed to occur between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
At about 10:30 p.m., one government source said soldiers were patrolling the streets and things appeared to be slightly calmer, but that few people were venturing into the streets.
Sheriff Martin Cuellar said preliminary information indicated one gunbattle broke out near the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge.
“We’re on alert at this time,” Cuellar said at about 9 p.m.
Investigator Joe E. Baeza, Laredo Police Department spokesman, also said authorities had confirmed the gunbattles in Nuevo Laredo and that Laredo Police had received numerous calls from Laredo residents saying they could hear the gunfire across the river.
At about 9:30 p.m., the U.S. Consulate General in Nuevo Laredo issued a warden message, saying there were reports of gunbattles near the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge in Colonia Victoria and also in the Viveros area of town, where Expomex is located.
“There are reports of the gun battles now moving into other parts of the city at this time and all U.S. citizens are advised to shelter in place until further notice,” stated the message posted at the consulate’s website.
Reports of the gunbattles filled Twitter and Facebook, starting after 7 p.m. and continuing well into the night.
“Parece guerra … lluvia de balas!!!...esta horrible!!” (It looks like war … rainfall of bullets!!!) read one Twitter report from a Nuevo Laredo resident.
Another wrote: “De nuevo balaceras, carros atravesados en las calles … dios nos cuide...” (Again there are shootouts, cars blocking the streets … God protect us)
At a downtown gas station in Laredo, a taxi driver from Nuevo Laredo was overheard telling another motorist that his dispatcher was warning drivers in Nuevo Laredo to park their cars, take their keys and take cover because gunmen were carjacking vehicles to block roads.
Nextel traffic filled the airwaves as people trapped inside their workplaces and restaurants called family and friends to report the danger.
Streets were reported blocked at 15 de Septiembre and Reforma and Paseo Colon and Reynosa, among others.
At about 10:30 p.m., the City of Nuevo Laredo’s Facebook page reported that the risk appeared to be over for now and asked people who had abandoned their cars or whose cars were blocking streets to “please go pick them up, carefully.”
Wednesday’s attack was just the latest in a series of violent outbreaks in the Sister City.
On Friday, 12 people were killed in gunbattles between alleged drug traffickers and soldiers.
On Monday, an unknown person dressed in civilian clothes tossed a grenade into a late-night crowd at a sports complex, killing one person and injuring 16, including several children.
And on Tuesday, a grenade was lobbed at a police car parked at an auto repair shop, but no injuries were reported.
Warden Message: Nuevo Laredo (Mexico) Reports of Ongoing Gun Battles
Consular Affairs Bulletins
U.S. Consulate General Nuevo Laredo released the following Warden Message on July 21:
The U.S. Consulate General has received reports of ongoing gun battles near the International Bridge 2 in the Colonia Victoria and Viveros areas of town. There are reports of the gun battles now moving into other parts of the city at this time and all U.S. citizens in the area are advised to shelter in place until further notice.
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's internet web site at http://travel.state.gov/ where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers from Mexico, a regular toll line at 001-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). American citizens traveling or residing overseas are encouraged to register with the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the State Department's travel registration website at https://travelregistration.state.gov/.
For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens in Mexico, please contact the U.S. Embassy or the closest U.S. Consulate. The numbers provided below for the Embassy and Consulates are available around the clock. The U.S. Embassy is located in Mexico City at Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtemoc, telephone from the United States: 011-52-55-5080-2000; telephone within Mexico City: 5080-2000; telephone long distance within Mexico 01-55-5080-2000. You may also contact the Embassy by e-mail at: ACSMexicoCity@state.gov The Embassy's internet address is http://www.usembassy-mexico.gov/.
The Consulate General in Nuevo Laredo is located at Allende 3330, Colonia Jardin, Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. The Consulate General’s telephone number from the U.S. is (011)(52)(867) 714-0512; within Mexico, (01) (867) 714-0512. The fax number is (011)(52)(867) 714-6075. For additional inquiries,