Illinois father shot three times in ambush on road in Mexico

A trip to Mexico to see relatives for the holidays turned into a nightmare for a family from Aurora, whose father was shot three times in an ambush and now faces a long road to recovery.

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Jose Luis Guiterrez, 52, suffered two gunshots to the knee and one to the hip during the attack Monday morning in the Mexican state of Zacatecas. He has undergone surgery and is being guarded at a hospital by local law enforcement, said his wife, Alejandra Gomez, who stayed behind in Aurora.

“They fear that they (whoever shot him) will want to finish the job,” she said.

“I wanted to travel to see him, but the Mexican authorities said that wasn’t a good idea, that they would have had one more problem in taking care of me … This is very difficult.”

Gutierrez and his daughter Sofia Gutierrez, 19, drove from Aurora to Dallas to pick up his father, Jesus Guiterrez Vasquez, 81, on their way to see family in Jalisco, Mexico.

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The three were driving through the Mexican state of Zacatecas and had pulled over to rest when they were ambushed by a group of men, said the family’s attorney, Manuel Cardenas.

“They opened the doors and they hit the daughter and the grandfather,” he said. “When the father started defending his family, they grabbed him, put him in their truck and left, leaving the family there.”

Gutierrez was later found on the roadside, shot three times, after someone saw him and called 911, according to a news release by the Zacatecas Office of Public Safety. Gutierrez was taken to a local hospital.

Marlene Acosta of the League of United Latin American Citizens, which is helping the family, said she’s waiting to view the police report.

The family were traveling on local roads, not the highway, Cardenas said.

Gomez said she believes the criminals might have followed the truck with Illinois plates all the way from the border outside Laredo, Texas, a few hours north. They were not carrying presents or items of high value, she said, adding she was advised by her attorney and law enforcement not to divulge too many details.

Her daughter and her father-in-law are very upset but didn’t suffer serious injuries, Gomez said.

“My daughter had a nervous shock, she got really scared. And my father-in-law is older,” she said. “I am worried about the three of them.”

The Gutierrez family has lived in Aurora for 30 years. The father and daughter are U.S. citizens, and the grandfather is a U.S. resident, Acosta said.

Gutierrez, who works as a gardener and landscaper, won’t be able to walk for a month or two, his wife said. She hopes to have more news later this week about when he can travel back home, she said.

Meanwhile, Gomez will stay home in Aurora with her two older children, ages 23 and 27.

“I am sad and my kids are also sad. I hope this gets resolved and we find the best way to bring him here,” she said. “It’s something very painful, especially at this time.”

The family has created a GoFundMe for medical and travel expenses for Gutierrez.

The U.S. Department of State advises travelers to exercise increased caution while traveling to Mexico due to crime and incidents of kidnapping. Zacatecas and Jalisco are among states that people should reconsider travel to; there are five other states that travelers are advised not to travel to at all.

Source: heraldo, notimex

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