Priest killed in crossfire during fight in Matamoros - Brownsville Herald: Valley

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Priest killed in crossfire during fight in Matamoros

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Posted: Saturday, July 2, 2011 12:00 am

Church officials and the community of Matamoros were in shock after a well-known Catholic priest was killed in crossfire during a Saturday afternoon shootout between armed gunmen and the Mexican military.

Sources outside of law enforcement said the shootout began when members of the Zetas tried to enter Matamoros.

Father Marco Antonio Duran Romero died at approximately 3:40 p.m. at a local hospital from a gunshot injury, according to a statement by Father Alan G. Camargo, a spokesman for the Matamoros Diocese.

The diocese issued a statement late Saturday expressing deep pain at the death of Father Duran.

According to a Tamaulipas law enforcement official not authorized to speak to the media, Duran was struck in the chest by a bullet from a firefight between authorities and gunmen as he drove through Avenida Albino Hernandez in the Colonia Obrera.

Duran was widely known throughout the city because of a television show he had on a local channel and regular appearances on radio, where he discussed a wide variety of topics. He also served at the San Roberto Belarmino parish in the Colonia Portes Gil, according to a Matamoros resident who is close to the diocese and was deeply saddened by the news

The firefight began at approximately 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the Colonia Obrera between groups of gunmen, and blockades began popping up throughout the city in an effort to keep authorities away from the area, according to a Tamaulipas law enforcement official.

The blockades were reported near the offices of Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office and the downtown military base as well as other main avenues, he said.

Some of the avenues with blockades included Sendero Nacional, Avenida Pedro Cardenas, Avenida Longoria, Lauro Villar, Calle Sexta and several others main streets in the city.

At approximately 4:30 p.m. gunmen were still battling it out near Sendero Nacional, which is near the Tamaulipas State University–UAT campus.

Authorities arrived afterward to the areas in conflict and engaged the gunmen.

A source outside of law enforcement with firsthand knowledge of the firefights in Matamoros reported that a squad of Zetas tried to enter Matamoros and was met by a squad of gunmen from the Gulf Cartel and that later the Mexican military arrived, creating a three-way firefight.

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