The grieving family members of nine Americans slaughtered in Mexico say the drug cartels are & # 39; worse than ISIS & # 39; because they urge the US to intervene because they live in constant fear and are now considering leaving their Mormon community.
Funerals began on Thursday in Sonora for three of the nine victims of the LeBaron family, after the Mexican government said they were trapped in the crossfire of a territorial feud between two rival drug cartels.
Three women and six children were shot, while five children were seriously injured when they were attacked Monday after leaving their religious community in La Mora – a decade-old settlement that is an escape from the Mormon church.
Dawna Ray Langford (43) and her sons Trevor (11) and Rogan (3) were laid to rest in La Mora on Thursday.
The funerals for Christina Langford Johnson and Rhonita Miller and her four children – six month old twins, Titus and Tiana, Krystal, 10 and Howard, 12 – are expected to be held in Colonia LeBaron, another settlement in the nearby Chihuahua state, at Friday.
Funerals began on Thursday in Sonora for three of the nine victims of the LeBaron family after the Mexican government said they were trapped in the crossfire of a territorial feud between two rival drug cartels
Sadness and anger have taken hold of grieving family members in the aftermath of the tragedy when some urged Mexican leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to accept President Donald Trump's offer to crush the gangs.
& # 39; I really believe that the cartels in Mexico have moved to another level of barbarism, they are just as bad or worse than ISIS. ISIS has an ideology, & said Rosa LeBaron, 65, whose cousins died in the attacks.
& # 39; These sicarios (assassins), why are they doing it? Out of greed and pure evil. & # 39;
She said that Mexico had to overcome pride and accept external help from a neighboring country or international coalition, such as the United Nations, to eradicate the cartels.
& # 39; This is so incomprehensible that we live as if we are in Afghanistan, 160 km from the American border, & # 39; said LeBaron.
President Lopez Obrador said he believed Mexico could solve its security problems without foreign & # 39 ;, but he opened the door to FBI cooperation on condition that the national sovereignty of the country is not violated.
After having held the first of the funerals, residents say they have now been left behind to get a grip on the fear of the attacks.
Rhonita Miller and her four children – six-month-old twins, Titus and Tiana, Krystal, 10 and Howard, 12 – were among the nine who were shot on Monday. Their coffins are pictured above before their Friday funerals
Late on Thursday, a memorial was held for Rhonita Miller and four of her children, all of whom were also murdered on the road between La Mora and the state of Chihuahua
A young boy sobs while reading an eulogy at the funeral service of Dawna Ray Langford (43) and her sons Trevor (11) and Rogan (3) after being killed by gunmen of drug cartels
Men were seen on Thursday in La Mora, a mass grave – the community where the nine victims lived. Funerals are held for a number of victims
& # 39; I don't feel safe here, and I won't, because the truth is that we're not safe here as a community, & # 39; David Langford said in tears, addressing grieving people at his wife's funeral, Dawna.
Although the brothers and sisters of Colonia Le Baron have been peaceful since the murder of one of its members in 2009 and the subsequent installation of a security base, La Mora lacks such a presence – at least until Monday's murders led the state and federal incite forces to protect those who came to mourn. How long they stay can be crucial for the future.
& # 39; We here in the mountains have no access to authorities, or very, very little, & # 39; said David Langford.
The funerals on Thursday took place while Mexican soldiers watched, a reminder of the dangers they face in the midst of a war with drug cartel grass.
Steven Langford, a former mayor of La Mora, whose sister Christina Langford was among the killed women, warned that their community would become a "ghost town".
& # 39; Many people are leaving, & # 39; he said.
The first funeral was for a mother and two sons who were laid to rest in hand-made pine boxes in a single grave in the small cemetery of La Mora.
In a raucous, tearful service, relatives told brave attempts to save their loved ones after the ambush, and how some of the children walked miles from the mountains to the city.
Rhonita Miller and four of her children – her six-month-old twins, Titus and Tiana, her 10-year-old daughter Krystal and the 12-year-old son Howard – were all killed. Two more mothers, Dawna Langford and Christina Langford Johnson, as well as the sons of Dawna, Trevor, 11 and Rogan, 3, were all also killed
The nine victims of the LeBaron family, including three mothers and six children, were shot on Monday morning while traveling in three SUVs from the Mormon community where they live in the state of Sonora
Soldiers assigned to the National Guard of Mexico stand by a bullet-riddled vehicle of one of the mothers shot in the cartel ambush that killed nine
There was no revenge in the deeply religious community, only justice.
& # 39; God will take care of the wicked, & # 39; said Jay Ray, Dawna's father, in a hymn.
David Langford called his wife a hero for telling her children to stoop while their vehicle came under fire.
& # 39; I find it difficult to forgive, & # 39; he said. & # 39; I am usually a very forgiving man, but this kind of cruelty does not belong in a civilized community.
& # 39; My children were brutally murdered … and my beloved wife. & # 39;
Of the survivors, he said, son Cody had installed a board in his jaw that was locked up for six weeks.
Dawna & # 39; s younger sister Amber Ray, 34, published her as a dedicated mother to her 13 children and housewife who loved a good laugh and baked the best birthday cakes out there.
& # 39; There is nothing in life that can't make a cup of coffee better, & # 39; Amber said Dawna liked to say.
The three coffins, two child-sized, were placed in the beds of pick-ups and family members rode with them to the grave while hundreds of mourners followed on foot.
Later in the day, a memorial was held for Rhonita Miller and four of her children, all of whom were also murdered on the road between La Mora and the state of Chihuahua.
Accompanied by heavily armed Mexican authorities, family members of the LeBaron family mourn the site where nine were shot Monday.
Heavily armed Mexican authorities guard a caravan of friends and relatives of the LeBaron family on Wednesday prior to the funerals planned for the nine victims
In a grassy backyard for hundreds of attendees, she was praised as an & # 39; innocent spirit, a beautiful heart & # 39; and a woman whose smile could lighten a room & # 39 ;.
Son Howard Jr. loved basketball and was recently delighted to make his first tricycle; daughter Kristal was & # 39; her father's eyeball & # 39 ;; twins Titus and Tiana, born on March 13, were remembered as & # 39; two perfect angels in the first precious moments of their life & # 39 ;.
Their bodies were later to be transferred to the road where they died for burial in Colonia Le Baron. The two communities, whose residents are related, came together in a show of sorrow.
Patrols of Mexican army troops regularly passed the only paved road of the hamlet.
Apparently, shooters from the Juarez drug cartel set up the ambush as part of a turf war with the Sinaloa cartel, and American families drove there.
Mexican officials said the attackers might have mistaken the large SUVs of the group for those of a rival gang.
But Julian LeBaron, whose brother Benjamin, an anti-crime activist, was killed by cartel guns in 2009, disputed that.
& # 39; They must have known they were women and children, & he said. He said the eight remaining children reported that one mother got out of her SUV and raised her hands while still being shot.
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