Two Americans who survived an assault and kidnapping by Mexican drug cartel members shared their harrowing experience with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. The brazen, broad-daylight, March 3 abduction by gunmen occurred in the border town of Matamoros, a city known for crime and violence.
Five Americans, LaTavia Washington McGee, Eric Williams, Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown were driving through Matamoros when they heard a car horn behind them. In minutes, gunfire erupted.
Woodard and Brown did not survive the ordeal.
McGee told CNN that gunman forced their vehicle to stop and approached wearing “Diablo” masks.
“Zindell and Shaeed … jumped out of the driver’s side after someone started to beat on the car with a gun.” Williams recalled how gunmen shot them.
“They didn’t deserve that. None of us deserved it. But we’re alive — we have a lot of recovering to do.”
McGee noted that the cartel members were well-armed and equipped to evade the police: “They had police scanners and all types of stuff in their trucks. They knew what was going on. They were always a step ahead. So I was like, they’re never going to find us like this.”
Williams shared that during the ordeal, their captors “tried to make us have sex with each other” — but were not forced to comply when they told their captors they were brother and sister.
The New York Post noted that the Americans were “driven around an entire night listening to the sound of guns being cocked before they were abandoned at a wooden shack.”
Williams noted he “was shot on both legs.” He received minor medical treatment sometime later when taken to a clinic. He was reportedly “stitched up without medication or anyone checking whether the bullet was still in his leg.”
Williams and McGee were found four days after their abduction. The bodies of their friends were also located on March 7 and transported back to the U.S.
Williams reported that both Zindell and Shaeed were alive when, after being shot, they were put into the bed of a pickup truck to be questioned in another location.
Before the truck took Shaeed and Zindell away, Shaeed told his friends, “I love y’all. … I’m gone.”
“He died right there,” a tearful Williams said. “He said he loved us and he was gone. It was the last thing he did.”
McGee recalled being put in a room with a badly wounded Brown.
“He was fighting for his life and they didn’t do nothing,” McGee said. “I talked to him the whole time. … I just told him sorry because I asked him to come with me.”
McGee added: “He was like, ‘It’s OK. I’m your brother. I’m supposed to be there for you. I love you.'”
Police have arrested six people, including five members of the Gulf Cartel, in connection with the crimes. The Cartel reportedly sent an apology letter on behalf of the group,
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