American Killed in Mexican Border City While Visiting Family

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- A U.S. citizen was killed by gunmen while visiting relatives in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, authorities said Friday.

State prosecutors' spokesman Arturo Sandoval said Josue Reyes Castro, 26, was killed during an attack on a home late Thursday. Relatives said he was born in Phoenix, Arizona. The U.S. consulate was still working to confirm the man's nationality.

Reyes Castro and 17 relatives were visiting the home in a low-income Juarez neighborhood when unidentified gunmen pulled up and began shooting. Witnesses said the assailants opened fire without saying a word.

A neighbor also was killed, and two of Reyes Castro's relatives were wounded, including a 4-year-old girl. The girl, a cousin of Reyes Castro, suffered non-life threatening wounds when she was struck by a bullet fragment. An uncle was more severely wounded.

Velia Urquiza, Reyes Castro's aunt, said the group had traveled together for safety for the visit to the violence-plagued border city, where drug cartel turf battles that have killed more than 6,000 people the last two years.

Velia Urquiza, who was born in Ciudad Juarez but lives in Phoenix, said the group was visiting her parents, who still live in this city across from El Paso, Texas. She said they had taken the precaution of traveling in a three-vehicle convoy, given the Juarez's violent reputation.

She said Reyes Castro was studying to be a mechanic and also worked at a bakery in Phoenix.

"It isn't fair that a young man who was just beginning to live, who was planning a wedding, wound up dead in the street because of some people who we don't even know who or what they were looking for," Urquiza said.

Urquiza said the family wanted a humanitarian visa to take her parents to the United States, "because we can leave (Juarez), but they have to stay and then what is going to happen to them, because none of us is going to come back."