Mexican soldiers mistakenly opened fire on a woman and her 18-year-old daughter last week while they were pursuing a vehicle similar to the one she was driving.
The woman, from Starr County on the Texas border, was wounded by flying glass and bullet debris when some of the soldiers mistakenly opened fire on her SUV, Saida de la Torre told KRGV-5 news. The baby was operated on in a San Antonio hospital over the weekend.
De la Torre was visiting her parents in Ciudad Camargo, Mexico, and driving in her black Dodge Nitro with a cousin and her toddler daughter.
“I was going to pick up my oldest daughter and was on the road when we heard gun shots,” she said. “I told my cousin that we needed to go back to my parents’ house, because it looked like something was going down.”
She pulled her car to the side of the road and then saw a vehicle that looked similar to hers speed by. Then she headed back to her parents’ place.
“Everything seemed to be normal while I was driving back, but then I heard gun shots again,” she said. “They sounded a lot closer. I began to realize the soldiers were following me …I think they got confused and thought my truck was the one they were first chasing.”
When she got to her parents’ house, de la Torre said, “I got out of the truck and ran toward my father, who was outside. I screamed to him that they were shooting at us. The soldiers pulled up and … got out with their weapons drawn.”
De la Torre’s father spoke to the soldiers while she checked on her daughter and cousin, who was also in the car. “Fragments of the bullets hit me on the face, my hands and my legs,” she told KRGV-5. “My little girl did get hit with a bullet.”
The soldiers searched the vehicle, the family said, and, not finding what they were looking for, drove off.
Mother and daughter received medical treatment and the child underwent surgery. De la Torre was released on Monday, KRGV-5 reported, and is due for a follow up exam on Friday.
De la Torre said that Mexican authorities have been in contact with her about the incident. “They came to me and offered their apologies,” she said. “They treated us well during this whole process.”
She said that she was assured that the Mexican government would pay to repair her shot up SUV or get her a new one.
According to the Associated Press, the area of Tamaulipas state where the incident took place is controlled by the Gulf Cartel and has been the scene recently of violent turf battles with the rival Zetas.
The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City said it was aware of reports that a U.S. citizen had been wounded, the AP reported, but declined to provide any additional details, citing privacy policies.