Trump Responds to Killing of American Mormons

It's time to eradicate drug cartels in Mexico, and the US will help, he says
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2019 9:45 AM CST
After Killings, Trump Says Cartels Must Be Wiped Out
A screenshot from video of one of the vehicles attacked.   (YouTube/CBS)

The murder of women and children in a Mormon family in Mexico has President Trump calling for the eradication of drug cartels—with US help. All the victims have dual US-Mexico citizenship, reports CNN. "This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth," wrote Trump. "We merely await a call from your great new president!" In other tweets, he said the family "got caught between two vicious drug cartels, who were shooting at each other," and again asserted that the US was ready to help. "Sometimes need an army to defeat an army!" Many details of what happened are still unclear. Coverage:

  • The victims: Three mothers and six children have been confirmed dead, reports the AP. The youngest victims were 7-month-old twins, per CBS News. The family belongs to a decades-old settlement that's an offshoot of the Mormon church in Mexico's Sonora state, south of Arizona. At least five injured children have been transferred to hospitals in Phoenix.
  • The attack: They were driving in three separate cars, some headed to a wedding in a nearby town and others to the US border, when gunmen opened fire on them, per CBS. Family members say children were shot at while fleeing, and others were burned alive in vehicles. Cousin Kenny LeBaron says gunmen opened fire on a car that had broken down, then also attacked the two other cars further up the road, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

  • Why? A leading theory is that members of a cartel mistook the family members for rivals, but nothing has been confirmed. The New York Times reports that the family has a history of speaking out against criminal groups in the region.
  • The family: They have ties to Utah, reports the Tribune, which describes them as such: "The victims are members of the LeBaron family, American citizens who have lived in a fundamentalist Mormon community in the border region for decades." They "are a mix of people who worship with the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and polygamous offshoots," per the Tribune.
  • Backdrop: Mexico has long endured drug violence, but a wave of attacks in recent weeks has been brutal even by those standards, notes Reuters. Last month, Mexican security forces trying to apprehend a Sinaloa cartel leader were repelled by a military-style assault. This new assault, however, could "become a galvanizing moment for citizens fed up with the endless bloodshed and the government's inability to do much about it," per the New York Times.
(More Mormon stories.)

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