Three people were shot near an El Paso-Juárez Metropolitan Border pedestrian bridge on Saturday afternoon, causing the crossing between the U.S. and Mexico to temporarily close.
The shooting occurred at approximately 3 pm on Saturday in front of dozens of people a short distance from the checkpoints to access the international bridge Paso del Norte, local reporting stated. According to witnesses, a man and a woman were walking along Avenida Juárez when they were shot and wounded by an unknown male who was traveling in the line of vehicles heading to the crossing into El Paso. A street vendor selling water to traffic heading north was also struck by errant gunfire.
The man and the woman, as well as the street vendor, were treated at the scene by the Red Cross paramedics and were transported to local hospitals. According to witness accounts, the shooter is believed to have possibly fled into El Paso.
Federal and municipal police arrived at the scene of the shooting and the international bridge was forced to close for two hours until the crime scene could be processed. The Secretary of Public Security for the municipal police of Juárez, Ricardo Realivázquez, also was at the scene to coordinate with federal authorities.
The spike is attributed to an internal conflict between “Old School Aztecas” and a newer guard “Aztecas.” The new guard aligned with “La Linea” against the “Old School Aztecas.” La Linea is the armed wing of the Juárez Cartel. Also contributing to the violence is the ongoing turf war between the Juárez Cartel or “El Nuevo Cartel de Juárez” against the Sinaloa Cartel and its aligned criminal gangs. The El Paso-Juárez Metropolitan Border Area is a key territory for criminal groups involved in drug smuggling due to heavily traveled ports of entry leading in the U.S. and its lucrative street sales drug market.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org