According to a story published in a Fort Worth newspaper, a Cleburne mother and two teenage daughters were among seven people killed in a spree of shooting attacks on buses in Mexico’s Gulf coast state of Veracruz.
Maria Hartsell, 39, and daughters Karla Hartsell, 19, and Cristina Hartsell, 13, were traveling to spend the holidays with relatives, Maria Hartsell’s mother-in-law, Margaret Schneider of Cleburne, said late Friday in the story. The story stated that a 14-year-old nephew from Reynosa, Mexico, had joined them and was also killed.
Hartsell’s daughter Angie was also shot, and her condition Friday night was unknown, Schneider said in the article. Another child, 10-year-old Mike Hartsell, was not injured but saw the killings, she said.
According to the story, Mexican authorities earlier identified the Cleburne family by the name Sanchez Hernandez. Schneider said Maria was married to her son, Mike Hartsell, and had legally dropped Hernandez and changed her name and her children’s to Hartsell.
According to the story, the attacks occurred near the border with the state of Tamaulipas, an area that has been the scene of bloody battles between the Zetas and Gulf drug cartels. Five gunmen attacked three buses Thursday, killing the seven passengers in what authorities said appeared to be a violent robbery spree. Rocha said the other bus passengers killed were a young Mexican couple, whose 3-month-old son survived. A bus driver was also killed. Five gunmen who were believed to have carried out the attacks were later killed by soldiers. Earlier in their spree, the gunmen shot three people to death and killed a fourth with a grenade in the nearby town of El Higo, Veracruz.
According to the story, on Friday night, Schneider said, she talked to her grandson Mike. He does not speak Spanish and told her that “Mafia” got on the bus and began threatening people.
“My grandson said my daughter-in-law was hitting one man and he shot her in the head,” Schneider said in the story. “He also shot Karla and Tina and killed them. He also shot Angie, who has Down syndrome.”
According to the article, Schneider said Maria Hartsell worked in the cafeteria at Santa Fe Elementary School in Cleburne. All the children attend Cleburne schools. A memorial service will be planned at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Cleburne, she said.
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