Community police in Guerrero allegedly shot and killed a couple from the United States and wounded their son.
Paul Nielsen of Utah and his wife Janeth Vázquez, originally from the state of Puebla, and their 12-year-old son were traveling from Acapulco to Zihuatanejo when they were shot in the municipality of Petatlán.
According to a report published on by the news website SDP Noticias, the attack occurred at about 3:30am last Thursday after the family’s vehicle failed to stop at a roadblock set up by community police between the towns of Santa Rosa and Juluchuca.
The car was intercepted by armed men who ordered the three occupants to get out and shot Nielsen, 48, and Vázquez, 43, in the head. Their bodies were later found by state police.
Kevin Joel Rojas Vázquez sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to a community hospital in Petatlán. The boy, who reportedly suffered a nervous breakdown, was later discharged and transported to Zihuatanejo, where he provided a statement to authorities.
Nielsen’s sister, Vilate Ssempala, told the Salt Lake Tribune that she wasn’t aware of any investigation to capture those responsible for the crime.
However, Guerrero Governor Héctor Astudillo said Friday that investigating the case was a priority.
Ssempala also said that her family has been working with the United States Embassy in Mexico to have Nielsen’s body returned. A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds to help with the expense of transporting the body.
Ssempala said that while growing up her brother was known as “Perfect Paul” because he was a stickler for following rules.
“He was very deliberate in everything that he did and very organized,” she said.
The United States Department of State said in a statement Saturday that it was aware of reports of Nielsen’s death but added that “out of respect for the family during this difficult time, we do not have additional information to provide.”