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Masacre en pelea de gallos ilegal en Tejas

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Mensaje por Lanceros de Toluca Abril 22nd 2012, 16:32

No arrests after 'massacre' at rural La Blanca cockfight
April 20, 2012 9:31 AM
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Jared Taylor and Naxi Lopez
The Monitor
Follow Jared Taylor on Twitter: @jaredataylor
Follow Naxiely Lopez on Twitter: @naxiely

LA BLANCA — Masked gunmen ambushed a cockfighting arena early Thursday morning, recklessly firing bullets that sent participants and spectators scrambling to escape.

Three men were killed and eight others went to area hospitals after the bloody assault that occurred shortly after midnight.

Hidalgo County sheriff’s investigators swarmed the underground cockfighting operation that turned into a crime scene following the attack, remaining there well into Thursday afternoon.

Few answers have emerged following the unexplained carnage that erupted amid a cluster of homes along Jesus Flores Road, a caliche route that intersects remote farmland south of Mile 20 North.

No arrests have been made in the case.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño said before sunrise Thursday that deputies were questioning the property owners about the illegal cockfighting ring, though they had not been named as suspects in the case.

Witnesses said people fled the area when between two and four shooters opened fire “indiscriminately” upon the gathering, Treviño said. Deputies arrived within two minutes after receiving a call of multiple people shot at 12:12 a.m. Thursday.

People went to their vehicles and sped away from the area. Others ran into nearby undergrowth to seek refuge. All of that left the crime scene in a disarray — one that Treviño described as among the dirtiest he’s seen in four decades of his law enforcement career.

“This has to be the crime scene from hell,” he said. “It was a chaotic situation.”

Victims trampled spent bullet casings and destroyed plenty of recoverable evidence at the scene, the sheriff said.

Little information about the attackers was made public Thursday. Before dawn, Treviño said investigators did not know the identities of the gunmen, who will likely face charges of capital murder and attempted capital murder, if they are arrested.

Hidalgo County Justice of the Peace Homer Jasso, who pronounced the deaths of the three slain men, said he was shocked at the gore of the crime scene.

“It was a massacre,” Jasso told The Associated Press. “I haven’t seen this kind of violence in the Valley on my watch. … This is the first time in my life I’ve seen something this bad.”

Authorities have not named the slaying victims, waiting for their families to be notified. Two of the men, ages 49 and 53, were brothers. The other man was 42 years old.

Funeral home workers removed the bodies shortly before noon Thursday. Tow trucks removed several vehicles from the scene. Hidalgo County animal control workers attended to the roosters, but would not comment on the number of live or dead birds still there.

One man lay under a corrugated metal and wood building that enclosed bleachers, cockfighting ring and concession stand, Jasso said. The two other men were just outside.

It was unclear how many people attended the cockfight, but Jasso estimated between 200 and 300 discarded beer cans littered the ground.

Neighbors said between 30 and 60 people typically showed up for the illegal fights on Wednesday and Sunday nights. The property has served as an undercover cockfighting venue for at least three years.

At least 20 dead fighting roosters also were strewn about the scene, though Jasso said he did not know if the birds died in the ring or from the gunfire.

Deputies encountered one of the shooting victims as he fled the carnage in a pickup — later observed along Mile 20 North, charred and completely burnt.

“Somehow, some way, while we were interviewing the victim, their car erupted into flames,” the sheriff said.

A relative of another injured person called deputies to report their loved one was hiding in the brush. A police dog searched the area before dawn Thursday, looking for other possible victims also seeking refuge.

Neighbors said spectators and enthusiasts have flocked to the cockfighting ring, set between a mobile home and watermelon fields along Jesus Flores Road, for at least three years.

Those who participate bring their own roosters. The sophisticated operation featured several battle rings, a rooster weighing room, bleachers and a concession stand, Treviño said.

“Cockfighting is a big problem in South Texas — not only in Hidalgo County, but in all of South Texas,” he said. “To them, it’s a sport. But to the state of Texas, it’s a crime.”

Rosalinda Ramos, 56, who lives two houses from the crime scene, said she awoke about 2 a.m. and saw sheriff’s investigators, thinking they had shut down the cockfights. Only after she woke up Thursday morning did she learn of the barrage of gunfire.

Manuel Castillo, 21, said his family didn’t know there had been a shooting. His mother, who refused to give her name, said she would get scared of the cockfighting enthusiasts, who occasionally would mistake her property as the arena.

“I would get mad and have to ask them to leave,” she said.

The homeowners are “very poor,” occasionally asking for eggs or tortillas, Ramos said.

Ramos described the area as secluded, though she said it has seen crime in the past. A burned out truck was found in the area within the past few months, she said. About two years ago, the bodies of two men had been abandoned in a car’s trunk for days before anyone noticed.

But Ramos said in her 20 years living there, she has never heard of anything in her neighborhood like the masked gunmen’s ambush.

“I used to tell my kids they might catch them like in other places and they close it down,” she said of the cockfighting ring. “But we never thought it was going to happen like that — not like that.

“This is bad, real bad. And like I said, it’s too close to us. We’re just innocent people.”

Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Last year, the Texas legislature passed a bill that broadened the state’s ability to prosecute those involved in cockfighting. The bill, co-sponsored by state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, made it illegal to breed fighting cocks or attend a fight.


Lanceros de Toluca
Alto Mando
Alto Mando

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