EL DORADO HILLS, Calif. — An El Dorado Hills couple is mourning the loss of relatives who were brutally shot and killed in the Mexican border state of Sonora Monday.
At least three women and six children were slaughtered by cartel gunmen and five children were taken to hospitals in Tucson, the Associated Press reported.
Bryan and Lindi LeBaron said they are related to two of the women who were killed. Rhonita LeBaron Miller, 30, is Bryan's first cousin. She was killed along with her 8-month-old twins, 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter. Christina Langford Johnson, 31, is Lindi's cousin-in-law. Johnson was also killed in the attack.
"This... came as a total surprise and total shock," Bryan said.
The couple sat down to speak with ABC10 about their loss and hopes of bringing the people who did this to justice.
This Q&A has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Is there any information on what could have led to this incident?
Bryan: There are a lot of different theories floating around, but we’re not exactly sure yet why this happened... Nobody ever expected that an innocent woman and children would be gunned down and murdered in a violent way. We do know that it wasn’t just a simple act of being caught in a crossfire. We know that Lindi’s cousin’s wife [Christina] put her baby in the backseat to protect her baby. [She] got out with hands in the air, showing she was an innocent woman and they still shot her down in cold blood. It was not an accident. That’s what we know so far.
Lindi: Honestly, they thought, in the beginning, it was [a case of mistaken identity]. But now things are coming out that show... it was more because there were kids who saw it all happen. As of right now, they are starting to believe it wasn’t an accident.”
How are the children doing after this experience?
Bryan: The kids are obviously traumatized. There were five children who were wounded, some to the face, chest, arms, and back. They’re all in stable condition. But it’s the emotional scars, the trauma that’s going to change their lives forever.
How do you feel about Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador rejecting Donald Trump's suggestion that the United States help "wage war" on Mexican drug cartels?
Bryan: I don’t understand that. We understand the need for strong borders... but why not have the international cooperation? Our countries can be such wonderful partners. They have so much to offer each other. The cartels are getting all kinds of international support. All the billions of dollars that flow in from the illegal drug trade come from, in a great part, the U.S. and other nations across the world. And so the Mexican government is out-funded. And it’s not simply a Mexican problem. It’s a worldwide problem. There are more Americans killed by murder in Mexico every year than all other nations combined, so it’s something that affects U.S, citizens. The president of Mexico should put his pride aside and accept international help and realize that this is an international crisis.
What can people do to help?
Bryan: Any support that we can get to encourage our representatives to continue to reach out to Mexico. We need their support. We need the president’s support. We need all our representatives to work with Mexico in a more productive partnership. That’s really what we need. Aside from that, there’s a lot of funerals. There’s going to be expenses. They set up a Go Fund Me, and that will go directly to the families and the victims to help with some of the expenses. But truly what the family needs is for the Mexican officials to realize and understand what’s going on. To not let this 24-hour news cycle just fade away and leave my family alone in it.
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