MEXICO CITY — Mexican federal police fired on a U.S. Embassy vehicle and wounded two U.S. government employees Friday after their vehicle drove into a rural, mountainous area outside the capital where the officers were looking for criminals, Mexican and U.S. officials said.
The two embassy employees were hospitalized, one with a leg wound and the other hit in the stomach and hand, according to a government official who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Another official said they were in stable condition. The U.S. Embassy said it could not release details of the shooting or the names of the victims.
The Mexican navy said in a written statement that federal police shot the U.S. vehicle, but its description of the incident left out key details of how the shooting occurred. It said at least four vehicles opened fire on the Americans' sport utility vehicle on a road south of Mexico City and near Cuernavaca, but did not make clear if any of the four vehicles carried federal police officers.
A U.S. official who was briefed on the shooting said, however, that all the shots were fired by federal police, of which at least 12 officers were being held for questioning by Mexican authorities. The embassy employees were on their way to do training or related work at a nearby military base, said the official, who agreed to discuss the incident with the AP only if not quoted by name.
Apparently the Mexican police were looking for some bad guys and ran into the Americans, the official said, calling the shooting a bad mistake.
The shooting broke out in an area that has been used by common criminals, drug gangs and leftist rebels in the past.
Attacks on diplomatic personnel in Mexico were once considered rare, but this was the third shooting incident in two years.
In 2011, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent was killed and another wounded in a drug gang shooting in northern Mexico.
In 2010, a drug-gang shooting in the border city of Ciudad Juarez killed a U.S. consulate employee, her husband and another man.