Sunday, July 3, 2011
Priest killed in crossfire during fight in Matamoros
Brownsville Herald/McAllen Monitor
Sources outside of law enforcement said the shootout began when members of the Zetas tried to enter Matamoros.
Father Marco Antonio Duran Romero died at approximately 3:40 p.m. at a local hospital from a gunshot injury, according to a statement by Father Alan G. Camargo, a spokesman for the Matamoros Diocese.
The diocese issued a statement late Saturday expressing deep pain at the death of Father Duran.
According to a Tamaulipas law enforcement official not authorized to speak to the media, Duran was struck in the chest by a bullet from a firefight between authorities and gunmen as he drove through Avenida Albino Hernandez in the Colonia Obrera.
Duran was widely known throughout the city because of a television show he had on a local channel and regular appearances on radio, where he discussed a wide variety of topics. He also served at the San Roberto Belarmino parish in the Colonia Portes Gil, according to a Matamoros resident who is close to the diocese and was deeply saddened by the news
The firefight began at approximately 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the Colonia Obrera between groups of gunmen, and blockades began popping up throughout the city in an effort to keep authorities away from the area, according to a Tamaulipas law enforcement official.
The blockades were reported near the offices of Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office and the downtown military base as well as other main avenues, he said.
Some of the avenues with blockades included Sendero Nacional, Avenida Pedro Cardenas, Avenida Longoria, Lauro Villar, Calle Sexta and several others main streets in the city.
At approximately 4:30 p.m. gunmen were still battling it out near Sendero Nacional, which is near the Tamaulipas State University–UAT campus.
Authorities arrived afterward to the areas in conflict and engaged the gunmen.
A source outside of law enforcement with firsthand knowledge of the firefights in Matamoros reported that a squad of Zetas tried to enter Matamoros and was met by a squad of gunmen from the Gulf Cartel and that later the Mexican military arrived, creating a three-way firefight.
The following video of the aftermath of Saturday's fighting was uploaded to YouTube by a Matamoros resident. Although of poor quality it shows the evidence of the high volume of gunfire in Saturday's shootouts as seen in damage to buildings.
The video also shows puddles of blood that, according to witnesses heard on the video, belong to unidentified civilians that were shot in the fighting and whose bodies were recovered by gunmen.
Although the McAllen Monitor and the Brownsville Herald are often criticized for publishing unsubstantiated reports of high numbers of fatalities resulting from shootouts in Reynosa and Matamoros, this video shows that there may be some truth to these reports if we take into account the fact that many if not most of the bodies of fallen gunmen and authorities are quickly recovered by the groups involved in the fighting.