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Official: soldiers killed survivors with own guns

October 10, 2014

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican soldiers used alleged criminals’ own guns to kill those who initially survived a confrontation at a warehouse southwest of Mexico City, the country’s attorney general said Friday.

In an interview with MVS Radio, Jesus Murillo Karam said that three soldiers have been charged with murder and a lieutenant with a cover up for the events of June 30 in San Pedro Limon, a community in the municipality of Tlatlaya in the state of Mexico.

Murillo said the majority of the 22 alleged criminals killed that day had already died in the shootout, but that at least eight were still alive before the three soldiers finished them off.

He said authorities confirmed that some of the bullets that killed the alleged criminals “do not match the army’s guns,” and in the course of the investigation determined that “they shot them with the guns of the dead.”

Murillo had said on Tuesday that the government had a new version of what happened in Tlatlaya and that there had been two exchanges of gunfire before the killings at the warehouse.

Authorities have maintained that seven soldiers and a lieutenant participated in the confrontation and all have been charged in the military justice system with violations of military policies.

Murillo said that a witness confirmed that version of events in a declaration Tuesday, though the woman had told The Associated Press and Esquire magazine weeks earlier in separate interviews that 21 of the victims were killed after surrendering.

The witness had told the AP that she saw soldiers kill her 15-year-old daughter who was wounded on the ground. She spoke under condition of anonymity fearing reprisals and could not be reached on Friday.

The story of what happened in the warehouse has taken several turns in the past three months.

The army said initially that the 22 alleged criminals died in a single clash and that soldiers freed three kidnapped women. But that version was questioned because the military said that only one soldier was wounded in the shootout.

AP journalists visited the warehouse days later and found little evidence of an extended shootout. On the walls were bullet holes at chest level, suggesting shots fired at close range.

However, Murillo said Friday on MVS that it was the army that first notified his office days after the incident that it had detected irregularities and policy violations, leading it to open an investigation.

Federal authorities did not investigate the scene until mid-September and had not interviewed the witness until Tuesday