PHARR — In an apparent contradiction with information from Pharr police, Mexican federal and Tamaulipas state authorities said they are not investigating the alleged weekend shooting of an American motorist outside Reynosa.
On Tuesday, Pharr police confirmed that Jose Luis Ruiz had been shot by gunmen as he drove along a highway south of Reynosa, and police Chief Ruben Villescas said that although his investigators had been and again would be talking to the victim, “it’s not our investigation, we’re just waiting on the Mexican authorities.”
Mexican law enforcement was taking the lead on the investigation, he said Tuesday.
But on Wednesday, Ruben Dario — a spokesman for the Tamaulipas Attorney General’s Office, known as the PGJE — said that his office has not been notified about the case and is not investigating it.
And Everardo Sanchez — a spokesman for Mexico’s federal Attorney General’s Office, known as the PGR — said Wednesday that the investigators in Reynosa had not been contacted by any U.S. law enforcement agency regarding any type of aggression, and as such were not investigating it.
Villescas said Wednesday that the Pharr Police Department had been talking to the PGR office in San Antonio.
Calls seeking comment made to that PGR office Wednesday by The Monitor were referred back to its counterparts in Mexico.
Asked why Mexican authorities were saying that they were not investigating the case, Villescas said he “can’t respond to them and I can’t explain their responses, but we’ve been talking to the Mexican consulate” and the PGR.
According to an internal Pharr Police Department memo, Ruiz had been driving to the Tamaulipas port city of Tampico on Sunday morning and was southbound on the outskirts of Reynosa when he noticed a tan Chevrolet Tahoe with three men aboard following him.
Ruiz turned around and headed north, refusing to stop even after the men signaled for him to do so, according to the memo, and the men then fired at and through the rear of his red Ford Ranger, hitting Ruiz and causing him to lose control and stop.
The gunmen approached his car and tried to open the driver’s-side door, but were unable to and left, according to the memo, and Ruiz was able to flee to the Pharr bridge, where he arrived about 8:20 a.m. asking for help.
In a news release issued Tuesday by Pharr police after repeated inquiries from The Monitor, officials stated that local police were being assisted by Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI, while Mexican authorities were leading the investigation.
HSI spokeswoman Nina Pruneda said Wednesday that HSI assisted Pharr police in interviewing the victim at a local hospital but is not investigating the case. The information gathered was turned over to Pharr police, who in turn would turn it over to Mexican authorities, but HSI is not looking into the case, Pruneda said.
FBI spokesman Erik Vasys said that while the bureau was aware of the case, there didn’t appear to be any open investigation into it, though he told The Monitor he would double-check.
The chief said police haven’t had a chance to further interview Ruiz, who recently moved to Pharr from San Antonio, because he’s been sedated or in pain.
The victim was released from McAllen Medical Center, and on Wednesday he stopped by the Pharr Police Department to pick up some of his items that were in the truck. Villescas said the victim is expected to get his truck back.
A public records search shows that the truck is owned by the husband of a woman named Lydia Bazan, who said the vehicle used to belong to her daughter before Ruiz, a man they didn’t know, bought it a few weeks ago.
Bazan said Ruiz, on foot, waved her daughter down as she was driving the truck and asked to buy it from her.
“He just stopped her on the side of the road and asked if she would sell it,” Bazan said.
(Monitor staff writer Elizabeth Findell contributed to this report.)