EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The mother of an 18-year-old U.S. citizen shot dead last Friday in Juarez is denying that her son had pulled a gun on a Mexican soldier.
The soldier fatally wounded Juan Carlos Medina after the teen ran away from a pedestrian checkpoint on the south side of the Paso del Norte Bridge and allegedly stopped to point a gun at him.
Chihuahua state police said the soldier fired once at Medina with his FX-05 “Fire Serpent” rifle. The bullet penetrated the teen’s underarm and struck vital organs. Medina, who allegedly was trying to smuggle into Mexico two brand-new guns inside his backpack, died at a hospital shortly after.
But Karla Reyes said she has been talking to witnesses who told her that her son never pointed a gun at the soldier.
“They said he was stopped for a routine search. He did not want to be searched. He ran away. That’s when they shot him. Witnesses tell me that he never pulled out a weapon. […] and even if he had, that’s not enough to shoot him dead,” Reyes said.
Chihuahua Deputy Attorney General Manuel Carrasco said the investigation is ongoing and that police are trying to examine any possible security camera footage.
Juarez Mayor Cruz Perez Cuellar said the smuggling of guns from the United States is a big problem in his city. Many of those guns are used by criminals to commit murder, he said.
That’s the official line in Mexico, whose officials have sued American gun manufacturers alleging they know their guns will be taken across the border to Mexico and be used in crimes. Mexico bans gun ownership except through rare permits issued by the Mexican army.
In an interview this past weekend, Perez Cuellar opined that the soldier, a member of Mexico’s National Guard assigned to security at the Paso del Norte Bridge, was just doing his job.
But Reyes is calling for an in-depth investigation. She said her son was born in the United States and went to school in El Paso. He lived in Juarez with his parents but had moved in with his grandmother in El Paso to work. He did landscaping work and maintenance with a relative there, his mom said.
“I don’t know about the weapons, but my son did not have economic need. He had a job (in El Paso), he had money. But if it’s true he had those weapons, they (were never fired), they were brand-new,” she said.