HomeUS News updateGroup of 4 Americans in deadly Mexico trip were childhood friends

Group of 4 Americans in deadly Mexico trip were childhood friends

The wife of one of the two survivors of a fatal Mexico shooting and kidnapping says she is happy her husband is alive but “heartbroken for the other two families who can’t say the same.”

Eric Williams and Latavia Washington McGee survived the trip to Mexico that killed two other people, according to officials and family members.

A group of four Americans – all childhood friends – came under attack in Mexico on Friday as they were in the country for a medical procedure for one of them, according to authorities and family.

Mexican officials said the two were found dead, and Williams and McGee were returned to the United States on Tuesday.

Latavia Washington McGee and Eric Williams.
Latavia Washington McGee and Eric Williams.WMBF; Courtesy Michelle Williams

Williams’ wife, Michelle Williams, said, “They’ve all known each other all their lives.” “They are childhood friends.”

The two deceased have been identified by family members as Shaheed Woodard and Jindal Brown.

The FBI said the group’s minivan was fired upon in Matamoros in Tamaulipas state, which is across the US-Mexico border from Brownsville, Texas, and armed men drove them away in a vehicle.

A law enforcement official with knowledge of the matter said he may have been targeted by a cartel gunman in a case of mistaken identity.

Tamaulipas Attorney General Irving Barrios Mojica said Tuesday that “when it comes to this conversation it looks like it was an illusion,” but that an investigation is ongoing.

Relatives said the American is from South Carolina and was on his way to Mexico to take over all the driving duties. McGee’s cousin, Aliyah McCloud, said they were on their way to Mexico so that one of them could get a medical procedure.

More coverage of the deadly Mexico kidnapping

The US State Department has warned Americans not to travel to Tamaulipas due to organized crime and kidnappings.

Michelle Williams said Sunday was the first time she knew something was wrong.

“I didn’t know anything until Sunday morning when the FBI came,” she said. “Everything seemed so surreal to me. At first, I thought it was like a scam.

Williams is from South Carolina but he and other relatives now live in North Carolina, said his older brother Robert.

“He’s a funny guy,” said Robert Williams. “He’s someone who has a zest for life. And he wants to make your life better, put a smile on your face.”

Robert Williams last saw his brother about three weeks ago, and didn’t know he was in Mexico, but was relieved he was back in the US

“The only thing I know is that he’s alive,” said Robert Williams. “And that’s the most important thing.”

Tamaulipas state governor Americo Villarreal said at a news conference on Tuesday that the four were found that morning in a wooden house near an area called La Lagunona in Matamoros.

A 24-year-old man from Tamaulipas was “found protecting the victim” and arrested, he said.

Villarreal said that his captors had taken the four Americans to various locations before meeting them.

Villarreal said a Mexican national, a 33-year-old woman, also died of gunshot wounds.

The FBI on Tuesday called it a “horrific and violent attack” and said it is working with the State Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies to determine the facts.

“We will do everything in our power to identify, locate and hold accountable the individuals responsible for this attack on American citizens,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.



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