Skip to comments.Progreso int'l bridge closed after shooting in Nuevo Progreso
Posted on 12/05/2009 8:04:08 PM PST by SwinneySwitch
Unconfirmed reports of fatalities but no reports of American casualties
PROGRESO The international bridge here was closed Saturday afternoon after a shooting across the border in Nuevo Progreso.
There were unconfirmed reports from witnesses crossing back from Mexico that one to five people were dead after gunfire among soldiers and other armed individuals. Identities of the victims remain unknown.
A representative at the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey confirmed there was gunfire in Nuevo Progreso and said the consulate had received unconfirmed reports of two fatalities. However, the consulate had received no notification of any American casualties as of about 6 p.m. Saturday.
The shooting broke out about 3 p.m. near the intersection of Juarez and California streets, several blocks from the international bridge along the city's main strip.
Military personell barricaded the scene of the shooting for hours, even denying access to local police officers. The international bridge was reopened several hours later.
"They won't let us in," commander Alfredo Gomez said. "They won't even let our ambulance in."
Gomez said his men told they couldn't enter the crime scene "for our own safety."
"That's how they are," Gomez said of the military personell. "They don't like us there."
No other bridges were apparently closed in connection with the shooting, but a customs officer at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge said personnel there were told to put on bulletproof vests after hearing about the shooting.
Dozens of Winter Texans gathered on the U.S. side of the bridge minutes after the shooting, some awaiting news from officials and others simply trying to get home.
"I'm thinking hard about coming back," said one Winter Texan from Colorado who asked to remain anonymous. The man was traveling with a group of friends to Nuevo Progreso and said he was waiting for four friends to return to the U.S. side.
"I heard a lot of gunshots," he said. "It surprised me. I thought it was safe here."
Other Winter Texans, like Carol Hamilton of New York, said the shooting will not likely dissuade them from making trips across the border.
"We're not nervous or scared," Hamilton said as she walked away from the bridge with her husband and friends. "We'll be back."
Hamilton said she was grateful to the Nuevo Progreso's tourism board for helping get everyone to safety as shots were being fired.
"The people in Mexico, they treated us very well," she said. "They were very apologetic."
She was also grateful to the Mexican army, she said.
"They called the shooters the 'bad guys,'" she said, smiling. "It was cute."
An ambulance as well as Progreso police, Hidalgo County sheriff's deputies and U.S. Border Patrol agents were stationed just north of the U.S. side of the bridge following the shooting.
A Welcome Back Winter Texans Fiesta had been scheduled to take place in Nuevo Progreso from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
Soldiers patrolling the scene hours after the shooting refused to provide details into the shooting, only referring reporters the 8th Military Zone in Reynosa. A soldier at the military base said no details were available to the media as of about 7:30 p.m., adding that information would be later released through an online bulletin.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched a sweeping crackdown on his countrys entrenched drug cartels in December 2006, dispatching thousands of soldiers to Mexicos northern frontier. Some 14,000 people have been killed since the initiative began.
Many Nuevo Progreso businesses that cater largely to Winter Texans struggled over the summer while the snowbirds were up north and visitors who usually cross the border to frequent the city stayed away.
People in Nuevo Progreso placed most of the blame for the slump on a June 1 change to U.S. travel rules requiring that all U.S. citizens have a passport or PASS Card in hand to return to the country through a land port of entry.
Some also pointed fingers at the H1N1 flu pandemic and headlines about drug cartel violence along the Mexican border. However, Nuevo Progreso has largely maintained a reputation as safe haven amid more rough-and-tumble border towns like Ciudad Juárez, where drug violence has been notably more prevalent.
We like the safety, San Antonio resident Lucinda Gonzalez said in mid-September during a day trip to Nuevo Progreso with her aunts. Wed rather come here than go to Nuevo Laredo.
“They called the shooters the ‘bad guys,’” she said, smiling. “It was cute.”
I drove all the way to Nuevo Progreso, and all I got was this lousy gun shot.
they need to bomb the bride and take it out and inform the mexican government that each time this happens they will take more bridges to the point that they will not be able to leave their hell holes.
Mexican village on the Rio Grande near Weslaco, Texas.
I live about half a mile from the bridge and I noticed today law enforcement vehicles blocking access to the bridge today. Guess this was why. Too bad. Bad it was the last place that you could go over and not worry too much. I won’t be back.
Been over hundreds of times. Don’t think I will do it again for quite some time.
If you want on, or off this S. Texas/Mexico ping list, please FReepMail me.
Please hit abuse when you have found a working link to the article. Thanks.
........That’s how they are,” Gomez said.....
He is not trusted and might be the enemy
A friend said he was in Progreso last week (from Corpus Christi) dancing with all the touristas. I used to go there a lot. I’ll be in Laredo tomorrow. I wouldn’t dare to cross the border now. I carry my CW on my person when I’m that close to the border.
I had a strong urge to visit the border towns. I crossed over from El Paso years ago and found the extreme difference interesting. I got on this ping list to dissuade my self from doing it again.
I just returned from a fantastic month long trip wandering around Texas. I may be a semiwinter Texan as a result. I traveled from Presidio to Brownsville along the river but never ventured across. The nearest I came was camping on the river in Big Bend State Park with no other campers there. The river was about ankle deep and narrow.
I spoke with other campers at various sites and only one was in the mood to cross the river. He was in his late 70’s, a Colorado Rancher, and was going for major dental work and dentures.
I got close enough to the Laredo crossing to observe the traffic. Several bumper to bumper lanes headed in and sparse traffic headed out. The traffic jam coming home was enough to convince me it wasn’t worth it.
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