Distressing video emerged Monday showing the moment four kidnapped US citizens were forced into the back of a pickup truck after being shot at in Mexico in a possible case of mistaken identity.
The US Embassy in Mexico City reported Sunday that the Americans had crossed the border into the crime-ridden city of Matamoros in Tamaulipas state in a white minivan with North Carolina license plates Friday and soon after came under fire.
Video that purports to show the Americans’ kidnapping features men wearing bulletproof vests dragging a person across the ground and roughly pushing a woman into the flatbed of a white pickup truck.
The suspects then grab two men who appear to be wounded or dead, and toss their bodies into the same flatbed.
It was not immediately known where the four captives were taken, or in what condition. Their names have not been released as of Monday.
A US official familiar with the incident told CNN the Americans were attacked by mistake and were not the intended targets.
It is not believed the US citizens had entered Mexico for criminal purposes, according to the source.
The FBI San Antonio Division office confirmed the kidnapping Friday. The federal agency is offering a $50,000 reward for the return of the victims and the arrest of the gunmen.
Matamoros is home to warring factions of the Gulf drug cartel, and the Americans’ kidnapping there followed gun battles Friday that were so fierce that the US consulate issued an alert about the danger.
It was not immediately clear where the abduction shown on video was connected to the gun violence in the area that had locals sheltering in place.
Tamaulipas state police reported that an unspecified number of people had been killed and injured Friday.
The State Department’s travel warning for Tamaulipas warns US citizens not to travel there. However, being a border city, Americans who live in Brownsville, Texas, and other cities in the area often drive across to visit family, attend medical appointments or shop.
With Post wires