A 52-year-old Aurora man speaks out after a holiday trip to visit family in Mexico results in a violent and likely targeted ambush the day before Christmas.
“They told me to get down and I got down and I went around the car and then one of them placed a weapon behind my ear,” recounted Jose Luis Gutiérrez to NBC 5 via Skype from Texas.
Gutierrez, a gardener, was shot twice by unknown attackers and left on the side of the road in Zacatecas, which is northwest of Mexico City, as they were making their way to spend the holidays with family in Jalisco, Mexico. His father, 81-year-old Jose de Jesus Gutierrez, and daughter Sofia Gutierrez, 19, were beaten in the incident. The family’s attorney Manuel Cardenas however, says it was likely a targeted incident.
The victim says that the suspects took him elsewhere, some 200 feet from where they found him, and he did nothing but cooperate with them.
“Tell me what you want, I can help you, one later says, ‘to the floor,’ and I respond ‘why?’ and another says, ‘kill him, kill him,’” he recalls. “Then another one says, ‘I won’t kill him here because it will stain the car and then how are we going to clean it?”.
Jose Luis Gutierrez sustained serious injuries and was airlifted to a hospital. After just two weeks since the attack, he remains in Texas, recuperating and hoping he can soon return to his home in Aurora.
The ambush occurred just days after the U.S. State Department urged travelers to Mexico to use increased caution after a spike in violent crime in the country.
"They target you just simply because you come from the U.S., and they know that to come to Mexico, you're probably going to have gifts, you're going to have valuables," Attorney Cardenas said.
Family members have reached out to both United States and Mexican authorities in search of answers. What led up to the incident, and who is responsible, remain unclear.
The League of United American Citizenswere working with the family to make sure their relatives got medical treatment and returned safely to the U.S.