Thursday, August 25, 2011

New attack on border lake where Colorado man was killed

ZAPATA COUNTY, Texas - There has been another shooting on a lake along the U.S.-Mexico border where a Colorado man was killed while jet skiing nearly one year ago, according to an incident report released by a South Texas sheriff's office.

The Zapata County incident report, dated Aug. 12, says two U.S. citizens crossed over to the Mexican side of Falcon Lake to fish when they were approached by 10 men dressed in military fatigues. The men opened fire on the grandfather and his grandson, leaving a bullet hole in the windshield of their boat.

The report says the U.S. citizens were then forced into a cove where they observed an additional 50 men, also dressed in military fatigues. After speaking with the men and holding up a fish, they were allowed to leave and return to U.S. waters. There were no injuries.

"We advise people not to travel to Mexico, not to go fishing in Mexico," Fernando Cervantes of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department told Rio Grande Valley television station KRGV.

Cervantes says the fishermen traveled two miles into Mexican waters, ignoring the international boundary markers in the center of the lake.

"After interviewing the fisherman it was determined, according to the fisherman, that the individuals appeared to be Mexican military," Cervantes told KRGV.

More than 1,100 miles away at her parents farm in La Salle, Colo., Tiffany Hartley says she wasn't surprised to learn of another shooting incident on Falcon Lake. It occurred in the same area where she and her husband came under attack on Sept. 30, 2010.

"I don't know how you can feel safe over there," Hartley said.

Hartley was surprised that Americans continue to ignore the danger and cross into parts of Mexico that have been ravaged by violence in recent years.

"Why were they in that area?" Hartley wondered. "Why were they on the Mexican side after what happened to us?"

Nearly one year ago, Tiffany Hartley and her husband David didn't think twice about taking their jet skis to Falcon Lake for a day of fun and sightseeing. Hartley says her husband wanted to visit and photograph the partially submerged Mexican town of Old Guerrero.

It was near that town in Mexican waters that she says men on speed boats approached and opened fire.

She told authorities her husband was shot in the head and appeared to be dead. She says she tried to pull his body onto her jet ski, but he was too heavy. When the men in the boats began chasing her, she says she had no choice but to leave his body in the water and escape to the safety of U.S. waters.

David Hartley's body has never been found. While the investigation in Mexico is still considered ongoing, Tiffany Hartley doesn't know if police are actively searching for her husband and his alleged killers.

One of the lead investigators was decapitated in the days following the attack, shutting down most of the active investigation in Mexico.

"Every day it's definitely harder to believe that he will be [found]," Tiffany Hartley said. "At the same time, I believe in miracles."

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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