13-Year-Old Child Killed After American Family Attacked by Armed Men in Mexico

A 13-year-old was killed after an American family was attacked just outside Texas on their way home from a vacation in Mexico.

The family was traveling in a Chevrolet SUV with Oklahoma state plates on Saturday night when they came under fire along a highway that is disputed territory between some of Mexico's most dangerous drug cartels, the Associated Press reported.

Armed gunmen killed the child and injured three others along the road that links the city of Mier with Nueva Ciudad Guerreroin in the state of Tamaulipas, just across the border from Falcon Heights, Texas.

The family had been returning to the U.S. after a visit to see relatives in the state of San Luis Potosi, according to the Associated Press.

The attorney general's office in Tamaulipas said the child was a U.S. citizen and that the parents were permanent residents of the U.S. They did not release the victims' names or any further details about the incident.

A U.S. State Department official confirmed to Newsweek that a U.S. citizen had been killed and two others were injured in the attack.

"We can confirm that one U.S. citizen was killed, and two U.S. citizens injured, in an attack in Tamaulipas, Mexico on January 4," the official said.

"We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss, and we are providing them all appropriate consular assistance. We are closely monitoring local authorities' investigation into this brutal attack. Out of respect for the family's privacy, we have no further comment at this time."

The Associated Press reported that the highway where the shooting occurred is considered high risk and runs through an area disputed by crime syndicates including the Gulf Cartel and Zetas.

Saturday's shooting came two months after nine American women and children were killed on a dirt road between the states of Chihuahua and Sonora in Mexico as they traveled to visit relatives.

President Donald Trump said the family were killed after getting caught between "two vicious drug cartels" and he vowed to help Mexico "wipe them off the face of the earth."

He tweeted: "If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively."

Last month, the State Department issued a travel advisory urging anyone traveling to Mexico to exercise increased caution as violent crime is widespread in the country.

Travelers were advised to avoid some Mexican states entirely, including Tamaulipas. The Level 4 advisory said: "Organized crime activity—including gun battles, murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, forced disappearances, extortion, and sexual assault—is common along the northern border and in Ciudad Victoria."

The advisory warned that criminal groups target public and private buses as well as cars traveling through the state, often taking passengers hostage to demand ransom payments. It added that "heavily armed" members of crime groups "operate with impunity particularly along the border region" and local law enforcement have "limited capability" in dealing with incidents.

This article has been updated with a statement from the State Department.

Reynosa-Hidalgo International bridge
Stock photo. The Reynosa-Hidalgo International bridge, which connects the Mexican city of Reynosa, in Tamaulipas State, with the city of Hidalgo, in Texas, is seen from the Mexican side. An American family was attacked in Tamaulipas as they traveled home from a visit to Mexico. Julio Cesar Aguilar/AFP via Getty Images