Soldiers Fire on Family Car in Mexico

Article excerpt

Byline: Olga R. Rodriguez and Mark Walsh Associated Press

MONTERREY, Mexico -- Soldiers opened fire on a family's car at a military checkpoint in northern Mexico, killing a 15-year-old boy and his father, authorities and relatives said Monday.

It is at least the second time this year that a family has been caught up in a shooting involving Mexico's military, which has come under intense criticism for human rights abuses as soldiers fight brutal drug cartels.

Javier Trevino, Nuevo Leon state lieutenant governor, said soldiers apparently shot at the car when the driver failed to stop at the checkpoint Sunday on the highway connecting the northeastern city of Monterrey to Laredo, Texas.

But the boy's mother and uncle said the family had just passed a military convoy when the soldiers opened fire.

Patricia Castellanos, a 45-year-old tamale vendor, said they were returning to Monterrey after visiting her sister in the town of Salinas Victoria. Castellanos said she and her husband were traveling with their teenage son, their 24-year-old daughter, their son-in-law and their two grandchildren, ages 8 and 9.

The 15-year-old, Alejandro Leon, was shot in the head and back and died at the scene. Castellanos' husband, bricklayer Vicente Leon, was struck in the back and died at the hospital.

"I don't know how to explain the pain I'm feeling," said Castellanos, her eyes welling as she sat with her brother in her small home in a working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of Monterrey. …