Plagued by deadly attacks, members of this Mormon community are fleeing Mexico

WSJ What's News
|

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

The American Mormon Community of Lamar. Mexico has been devastated by last week's massacre by suspected cartel gunmen gunman on a road. In the state of Sonora. Three women were killed along with six children in the attack. The Wall Street Journal says the killings. Threaten the future of this breakaway Mormon community community of two hundred people founded more than seventy years ago. The Wall Street Journal's Jose de Cordoba Talk to family members and joins us from Mexico City. Jose you travel rabble to Lamar and also talked to members of this Mormon community. Please talk about how this attack has affected them and the community is a whole. This attack has been devastating for with a community. It's broken it's heart. It's a very close knit community. Most members of it are intermarried. It's been there for about seven years since the nineteen forties or so. A lot of the people are very worried about their safety on the future of kids. So many have left. Many left on Saturday in a in a caravan and ended up in Arizona is not really known how many will come back and whether they we'll leave for just a few months to try to heal and return or they're gone forever. It's very hard to say they leave. A LOT OF pecan farms arms pomegranate farms. Another business behind. So it's it's it's very very tough. It's been home for them for many many years and for for them it's always been this bucolic paradise ical place included in this group. One person is the mayor of the local town. Adam Lang Ford has been twice the mayor of the town. That La Morra is part of the mode is just little hamlet a which makes part art. It's part of a municipality called Bobby he he was twice a mayor of speak. What is l'amour like in general described that to us you said it was this idyllic community? Landlord is made up of about thirty twenty to thirty families. They live in most of them live in very comfortable. Nineteen fifties style American ranch houses with wide lawns and big shady trees. They have amazing of the valley and nearby mountains. All the people that I talked to who who up there said it was an idyllic childhood. They just roam you know the nearby mountains uh-huh without a care in the world you know go into the river fishing. They love the place but by the time most of them are are a young men. Most of them leave for the United States with a work in oilfields in North Dakota or construction work and then they come back later. Some some of the members of the community are belonged to polygamous families. There are swarms of kids solo replace the. They're very big families. So you see loss and lots of of of little kids. This attack is also pierced the illusion that the families American citizenship protected them from the violence and there there is obviously big disagreement between the families and the government about a why they were targeted. You know they believed that they were actually targeted by the gunman and that. It wasn't a case of mistaken identity. Isn't that right yes. There's a lot of confusion about the motives of the attack Jack and whether targeted or whether the victims were attacked in a case of mistaken identity. The area has been contested by two different cartels there. The local guys who are from Sonora called the La Salle aside and there's the armed wing of the Edis Cartel Cola Denia. They've been fighting over drug routes and territory and now they're fighting about smuggle gasoline in the area area. Some think that one or the other cartel shot at these three vans that were carrying the women and children because the band's looked like vehicles else usually used by cartels but others believe that they were targeted that the people who were doing the shooting knew exactly who the victims were. So that's what many in the families believe. Many of the survivors believe it's not know. Supposedly they have arrested a person or some person person connected with the attacks but authorities in Mexico have not given out any details about the arrest yet the FBI is also apparently on the scene conducting acting investigations and this attack is also notable because it occurred against American citizens. I mean Americans have been targeted before but not to this level of brutality. You you know. A vast majority of cartel victims are obviously Mexican and this really threatens to harm relations between the US and Mexico doesn't it well because custody of barbarity Lee attack three women and six children killed one of the Band's burnt. It's really focused. A spotlight on the issue who of violence in Mexico and it's an has attracted a lot of us attention. President trump has tweeted out saying that the US was ready to to help. Mexico deal with cartels is attracted a lot of attention and I think it will continue to attract a lot of attention. It's it's the last incident in string of recent very violent incidents that have people scared about whether the pressing government has a handle on on the violence and it is different because Americans have not been targeted on such a large scale There've been a couple of cases of Americans in Mexico Oh. US officials ice agents who were ambushed. Once an embassy employee who was also killed into what is some years ago. But it's never been on such a massive scale and and has never been really aimed at obviously at a group of Women Children Wall Street Journal reporter Jose de a quarterback joining us from Mexico City. Thanks a lot Jose. Okay thank you.

Coming up next