In a sign that the border is still not as safe as some U.S. officials would have us believe, a fierce shootout erupted on the Texas-Mexico border on Tuesday. In fact, reports say that armed gunmen crossed the border into the U.S., although its unclear if the men were criminals or Mexican law enforcement.
The Monitor reports witnesses saw several American law enforcement agencies, including a SWAT team and the U.S. Border Patrol, respond to the incident near Escobares. The outlet reports a shootout broke out just south of the Rio Grande earlier:
The shootout reportedly began shortly after noon but details were not immediately available. Residents on the U.S. side reported seeing members of the U.S. Border Patrol and Starr County Sheriff’s Office securing the area near the border.
Border Patrol spokeswoman Rosalinda Huey said agents had been tracking a suspected drug load near La Rosita and pushed it back to Mexico.
Border Patrol alerted Mexican authorities of the suspected load and then found an injured Mexican national on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande, Huey said. Emergency crews rushed the man to an area hospital. His condition remains unknown.
The man, a suspected cartel gunman, had been shot by Mexican authorities, a separate U.S. law enforcement official said.
The official confirmed a group of as many as 15 gunmen had crossed the Rio Grande, though it remained unclear whether they were Mexican soldiers or cartel gunmen.
One witness, ranch hand Ricardo Guerra, said his brother's ranch became the epicenter for over 100 law enforcement officers.
“Yeah, you worry when that happens,” Guerra said. “We all went back inside the house. It looks like there was something going on over there (Mexico); we heard four or five shots from the helicopter. It looks like the (Mexican military) helicopter was shooting at the people on the ground over there.”"
You can read the Monitor's full report here.