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White House Outraged at Mexico Killings

Sunday, 14 Mar 2010 08:50 PM

Assailants gunned down three people returning from a party at a U.S. Consulate employee's home in the Mexican city of Juarez, including a pregnant U.S. government employee and her husband, in two attacks a few minutes apart that prompted a furious response from the White House on Sunday.

The White House said President Obama was "deeply saddened and outraged" by the slayings, which occurred in broad daylight. They appeared to be the latest sign of the surge of drug violence in Mexico in recent years, which has claimed thousands of lives in border cities such as Juarez. But it was unusual for U.S. citizens to be slain -- particularly an American government employee.

State Department officials said authorities were still investigating whether the victims were targeted by drug gangs, but it did not appear that the slain consular employee was involved in counternarcotics work. Her in-laws identified her as Lesley A. Enriquez, 35, of El Paso, just across the border. She was a locally hired employee of the consulate whose job involved helping U.S. citizens, American officials said.

Her husband, Arthur Redelfs, 34, worked for the El Paso County Sheriff's Department, according to his brother, Reuben Redelfs.

"We do not have any indication at this point they were targeted" for their work or their links to the U.S. Consulate, said one State Department official. Another U.S. official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is underway, said the case "appears to be one of mistaken identity."

About the same time that Enriquez and her husband were killed, gunmen also fatally shot the third victim, a Mexican man married to a Mexican employee at the consulate. U.S. officials did not identify him.

Even the hard-bitten local police in Juarez were moved by the deaths of the American couple, according to the Juarez newspaper El Diario. When the officers arrived at the victims' bullet-riddled Toyota van, they discovered a baby girl crying disconsolately in the back seat, the newspaper reported.

At first, the police thought the infant was wounded, but she was unharmed. The 7-month-old girl was the couple's first child, and they expected another in five months, family members said.

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Assailants gunned down three people returning from a party at a U.S. Consulate employee's home in the Mexican city of Juarez, including a pregnant U.S. government employee and her husband, in two attacks a few minutes apart that prompted a furious response from the White House on Sunday.
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2010-50-14
Sunday, 14 Mar 2010 08:50 PM
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