The Mexican government has invited the FBI to participate in the investigation into the attack on three carloads of women and children from an isolated community just south of the Arizona border, the Arizona Republic reports. Mexico’s Security and Citizen Protection Secretariat and Foreign Relations Secretariat said the FBI would be invited to “accompany” investigators from the federal prosecutor’s office examining the shootings that killed nine people on Nov. 4.
Authorities have said gunmen opened fire on the families from a fundamentalist community as they drove through a remote and rugged region — killing three women and six children. All held U.S. and Mexican citizenship, relatives said. The killings in northern Sonora state came as Mexico confronts a rising tide of violence. Homicides reached a record high of more than 33,000 in 2018, while violence stemming from cartel conflicts and crimes such as “huachicoleo” — gangs pilfering gasoline from pipelines and fencing it — have turned once-placid pockets of the country into no-go areas. On Friday, the U.S. government increased its security alert to prohibit personnel from traveling to the city of Chihuahua, capital of the state of the same name, some 235 miles south of El Paso. At least 38 homicides in Chihuahua state, which neighbors Sonora, were reported in just 30 hours prior to the warning being issued.