Skip to comments.Armored SUV could not protect U.S. agents in Mexico
Posted on 02/15/2012 7:57:49 AM PST by AtlasStalled
When U.S. special agent Jaime Zapata was shot dead one year ago on a notorious stretch of highway in central Mexico, he was driving a $160,000 armored Chevy Suburban, built to exacting government standards, designed to defeat high-velocity gunfire, fragmentation grenades and land mines.
But the vehicle had a basic, fatal flaw.
Forced off the road in a well-coordinated ambush, surrounded by drug cartel gunmen brandishing AK-47s, Zapata and his partner, Victor Avila, rolled to a stop. Zapata put the vehicle in park.
The door locks popped up.
That terrifying sound a quiet click set into motion events that remain under investigation. When Zapata needed it most, the Suburbans elaborate armoring was rendered worthless by a consumer-friendly automatic setting useful for family vacations and hurried commuters but not for U.S. agents driving through a red zone in Mexico.
* * *
Had the door locks not opened at that moment, Zapata would probably still be alive today, said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), a former U.S. prosecutor who is pressing U.S. agencies to clarify what happened in the attack, in which Avila was wounded.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
EPA safety door unlocks (for the children) trump agents safety in a fire fight.
The difference between verification and validation.
Something so simple overlooked in the prcess. I should believe that this issues has been fixed at this point..
My Suburban does this and I have always thought it unsafe (and no... mine isn’t armored). I don’t know how many times that I have put it in “park” and then hit the “lock” button immediately.
Armored vehicle automatically unlocks...for the children...ping.
My 2007 MDX does NOT unlock when in park!
Who wants their anxious 5 yr old jumping out with a supervised exit?
(I know this because I don’t have kids and the damn passenger door is locked when I go to open it...)
I know that is not the issue here but, I learned fast about AK-47 penetration in Viet Nam when I had taken cover behind a bulldozer blade. The incoming AK-47 rounds went through it making the blade look like Swiss Cheeze.
There is a setting to change this. I did it on my daughters car.
So the WH via WaPo intends to suggest that it wasn’t Gunwalker that ultimately resulted in Zapata’s death but rather a Chevy? A door lock setting? That’s what we’re supposed to take from this? They can walk all the guns they want into Mexico because we have door locks to protect us?
First damn time I’ve ever read about the Jaime Zapata story in any detail.
Incredible, on so many levels.
So we’ll never know if he was specifically targeted or a target of opportunity. It sounds like he was not trained for any kind of dangerous work. The fact that U.S. agents aren’t allowed to be armed in Mexico is an outrage.
So the standard Suburban can be switched to manual? This reminds me of something I heard somewhere: that people nowadays routinely drown or burn to death in their crashed cars because, the moment the electrical system goes dead the doors and windows freeze and only a fireman can pry it open.
My Ford Edge unlocks the doors when I turn off the ignition, remove the key, and then pull the handle on the driver’s side door. It’s a pretty good compromise between security and convenience. I can hop out and start unloading things without unlocking individual doors, but if I’m sitting somewhere with the ignition off the doors are still locked.
I find it amazing that General Motors autolock systems would be so utterly useless!
We had some steel stop plates that we used for Practical Pistol competition - .45 and 9mm just splattered, stopping the timer...
We plinked them one day out of boredom from ~150 yards with ARs and were surprised as hell to drive up and find them looking like swiss cheese.
Small holes, to be sure, but drilled all the way through!
“First damn time Ive ever read about the Jaime Zapata story in any detail.”
You’re right. And it’s not just the Zapata story. Little press attention is going to Border Agent Brian Terry who was killed in Arizona, and U.S. consulate employee Lesley Ann Enriquez and her husband El Paso sheriff’s deputy Arthur Redelfs who were killed in Juarez, Mexico. Enriquez was pregnant, and her baby was lost in that shooting ambush.
Dude - it’s Government Motors. :P
Drilling little holes is all the 5.56 is good for nowadays. At least as it comes out of the current generation of M16/M4’s.
I’ve just finished reading “Sniper Elite” by former Aussie SAS sniper Rob Maylor. He recounts one incident where his buddy drilled a Taliban sentry three times with an M4 with no visible result. Fortunately Rob instinctively double-tapped the guy through the brain pan. The first stories about this phenomenon coming from the Blackhawk Down debacle in Somalia.
I remember quite well reading in SOF years ago a reference by the late machine gun guru Peter G. Kokalis that the then-new M855/SS109 ball round for the M16A2 (mid-1980’s) was overstabilized because the rifling twist was tightened to stabilize the longer tracer bullet, thereby destroying its ability to “yaw” in soft tissue and make icky-poo splatter.
That might or might not be the explanation because the old M193 bullet of Vietnam fame fired form the AR15/M16/M16A1 was a legend of lethality. There were many colorful (oog!) stories to come out of that conflict as to the spectacular demolition caused by that bullet.
There, I fixed the title for you.
The locks are programmable. Most people just don’t take the time to read the manual and learn how to set the car up the way they like it.
Check your owners manual.
That feature may be owner defined and you can change it.
If they didn’t unlock - Mexican goons would have duck taped the doors shut and the agents would have died of heat when the gas and air conditioning ran out. A better solution might be to assume it’s a war zone and use tanks...
Also, Homeland Security is soooooooo politically correct we have to assume Muslim and Mexican infiltration is massive. Drug Lords and terrorists will know our movements before our guys are on the road...
I will do that. Thanks, Vinnie. It has always bothered me (especially when driving at night, alone or with the kids).
I’ll be that the same corporation who amored Zapata’s SUV wasn’t the same corporation that does the POTUS Limo.
I’ll bet that the same corporation who amored Zapata’s SUV wasn’t the same corporation that does the POTUS Limo.
Armored SUV could not protect U.S. agents in Mexico
Yikes! Did you die?
Ever since the 1980’s, GM vehicles have had this “feature”.
It’s especially annoying when you’re trying to shuttle folks from one area to another in the dead of winter, like I did one year for my sister’s wedding. 25 below zero, 1/2 mile on private property, but big brother wants those doors LOCKED if the car is in drive.
PITA and stupid overall. That it cost a border agent his life is yet another reason GM should have been allowed chapter 11.
Recall also that David Petraeus took a 5.56 round through the chest and was out jogging two days later.
Wow, not sure where you live or stop your vehicle but for simple consumer use the park and pop feature is a welcome sign to me.
For the safety of government officials this needs to be turned off though.
I live in Maryland (Montgomery County). I usually don’t have much need to go out at night; however, some of the areas in our county are less than crime free. I am afraid it is just a way of life and one gets use to having a “street sense” of sorts. You need to be aware of anyone near the vehicle, if the vehicle can be seen... just as a good, common sense precaution. Better safe than sorry, I guess.
I have noticed that when using 55 grain 5.56mm ammo out of an 11-1 twist a profound increase in group pattern size in a light misting rain. I even had one keyhole.
It would be just as logical to have spikes coming up and impaling everyone in the car. Is this ObabaDesign?