Three people linked to the US Consulate in Ciudad Juárez were killed in two separate attacks on Saturday. In one incident, a consulate employee and her husband (Lesley A. Enríquez and Arthur Haycock, both US citizens) were killed while driving their Toyota car. According to preliminary findings by the Investigative Ministerial Police (Policía Ministerial Investigadora, PMI), at approximately 2:42PM individuals carrying high-caliber weapons fired upon the couple’s car, killing both of them. A three-month-old child, whose identity has not been disclosed, was in the backseat during the attack. Fortunately, she was unharmed.
In another part of the city, Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, a former PMI officer and husband of a consulate employee, was gunned down in his car. With him were also two minors who have been hospitalized. Six bullet casings were found at the scene. The attack occurred at approximately the same time, which has led some authorities to suggest the possibility that the attacks were connected, according to El Heraldo de Chihuahua. The two vehicles left a birthday party around the same time and are believed to have been trailed by their attackers before being shot at.
These deaths have drawn the attention of the Obama Administration to the violence along the border. President Obama has expressed his condolences to the families of those killed and his “outrage” over the attacks. This drew a quick response from his Mexican counterpart, President Felipe Calderón, who promised to find those responsible. Secretary of State Clinton vowed to continue working with the Mexican government to bring the culprits to justice and added that both countries have a responsibility to work together, especially in the border regions where ties between them have historically been strongest.
Authorities from Operation Coordinated Chihuahua (Operación Coordinada Chihuahua, OCCH) recently suggested that the culprits may have been members of the Los Aztecas gang. This group is associated with La Línea, the enforcement arm of the Juárez Cartel. This theory is based on information provided by US intelligence agencies that have been investigating the incidents along with various Mexican federal agencies, according to the Chihuahua state government.
The US consulate was closed Sunday and will remain so at least until Tuesday, March 16th. However, this is not due exclusively to security concerns. According to the consulate’s spokesperson, Silvio González, it was closed Sunday in memory of the individuals killed, on Monday for being a Mexican holiday, and on Tuesday as part of regular precautions in anticipation of President Calderón’s expected arrival in Ciudad Juárez.