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Mexican soldiers accused of killing suspected gang members appear in federal court

FILE - In this July 3, 2014, file photo, state police stand inside a warehouse where a black cross covers a wall near blood stains on the ground, after a shootout between Mexican soldiers and alleged criminals on the outskirts of the village of San Pedro Limon, in Mexico state, Mexico. Officials said Sunday Nov. 1, 2014, that seven Mexican soldiers have been charged with crimes ranging from homicide to improper conduct in connection with the shooting deaths of suspected gang members at a rural warehouse on June 30. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

FILE - In this July 3, 2014, file photo, state police stand inside a warehouse where a black cross covers a wall near blood stains on the ground, after a shootout between Mexican soldiers and alleged criminals on the outskirts of the village of San Pedro Limon, in Mexico state, Mexico. Officials said Sunday Nov. 1, 2014, that seven Mexican soldiers have been charged with crimes ranging from homicide to improper conduct in connection with the shooting deaths of suspected gang members at a rural warehouse on June 30. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)  (The Associated Press)

Seven Mexican soldiers have been formally charged with crimes stemming from the deaths of suspected gang members who were shot in a rural warehouse in June.

The Federal Judiciary Council issued a statement Sunday saying the seven are accused of "actions improper to the public service" and three face more serious charges including aggravated homicide over the deaths of eight people.

The charges stem from the June 30 deaths of suspected gang members near Tlatlaya, a rural community about 95 miles (153 kilometers) southwest of Mexico City. Authorities initially said all 22 people died in a shootout with soldiers. But witness statements and evidence from the scene contradicted the official version of events. Authorities later arrested the seven soldiers but said only three had participated in the killings.