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'It was a direct attack,' cousin says of ambush that left 9 family members dead near US-Mexico border

Posted at 4:44 PM, Nov 07, 2019

SONORA, Mex. — A heavily-armed man was arrested close to the scene of the Mexican massacre in La Mora that left 9 family members dead.

However, Mexican officials are now saying he had nothing to do with the murders.

Mexcian officials say American guns were used to kill those women and children.

In fact, when they arrived at the scene, they found 200 shell casings, a scorched car and two other bullet-ridden vehicles.

Inside those cars were 17 people; 3 mothers and 6 children were killed, 8 others injured.

Now, five of the surviving children are being treated at Banner Health's University Medical Center Tucson.

Sustained injuries go from grazes to gunshot wounds to the chest.

Daniel Lebaron tells KGUN he can't even begin to wrap his head around what happened.

“Is this even real? Is this possible? How could somebody murder and burn children ... women," Lebaron said. "Even in the worst wars in history, it's almost unheard of. It's devastating."

He told KGUN the massacre was not an accident.

“It was a direct attack. Murder of the worst kind. Beyond description,” Lebaron said.

The murder of the mothers and children is just the latest horror in a region known for cartel violence.

The Lebaron family was traveling in a three-car caravan from their ranch in La Mora to the state of Chihuahua for a wedding. Suddenly, their cars were riddled with gunfire, one erupting in flames.

While several children managed to escape, hiding in bushes for hours, others didn't have the same fate.

“I think tomorrow (Thursday) is going to be a very, very difficult day with funerals and all the kids. It's still a shock,” added Lebaron.

Lebaron’s cousin Rhonita and her four children, including two infants, were among those murdered. Mexican state officials say their blood could be on the hands of a criminal group, possibly a cartel.

Lebaron says he and his family are devastated, but they are hopeful this tragedy brings awareness to organized crime in Mexico and action against it, to bring this violence to an end.

“Hopefully, both of our governments finally take this serious and start cooperating on a deeper level to where these kinds of atrocities are stopped,” he told KGUN.

Now, Lebaron says all there is left to do is to stay united, as a family, and continue to speak out against injustice.

This story was originally published by Luzdelia Caballero on KGUN.