Matías De la Cruz Galindo, a 63-year-old bricklayer, left the construction site where he worked at about 12 noon on Saturday, June 19, and headed home, just 15 kilometers away.
On that day, like many others, Mr Matías was accompanied by one of his four children, a 34-year-old man who helped him in the construction. The two were aboard the van talking about anything. Matthias went to leave his son, they said goodbye, and continued on his way home, where his wife was waiting for him to eat.
But the bricklayer of Veracruz origin – it had been almost 21 years since he left his native Poza Rica to settle with his family in Reynosa, Tamaulipas – never reached his destination. Just a few minutes after leaving her son, and just about three blocks from his home, a convoy of three pickup trucks crossed his path and shot him for no reason.
Read also: FGR will intervene in research on multihomicide in Reynosa; Tamaulipas confirms 19 victims
They were barely going to give 1 p.m. At that time, according to the map that the Tamaulipas Prosecutor’s Office made afterwards of the possible route that the armed convoy followed. In addition to Matias, members of organized crime had already killed 11 other people, out of a total of 15 who killed that Saturday for no reason, in one of the worst massacres on record in Mexico and in which four alleged assailants were also killed.
Juan, 35, is another of Matthias’ sons. His name is not real, but he asks to be changed for fear of reprisals. In an interview, he says that he is dedicated to the transport of goods and that that Saturday he had just arrived from making his first trip across the border, to the United States.
After taking a brief breather, he was about to make the second installment. But before he got on the trailer, a job his father insistently asked him to leave because of the great risk and insecurity that comes with it, especially on the northern border, he received a phone call from a niece.
– They killed your father – announced to him.
Juan says he was left in shock.
“I didn’t know if it was a bad joke,” he says.
Then he moved to a street where up to three colonies of Reynosa meet: the Lampacitos, the Unidad Obrera, and El Maguey.
There, under a scorching sun, was a pickup truck stopped in the middle of nowhere. Inside, in front of the wheel, lay his father, Matthias.
He had been shot in the head.
By then, the city was already a complete mess of shootings and murders for no reason, randomly. And to top it all off, testimonies gathered after the fact by the civil organization Human Rights Committee of Nuevo Laredo refer that the state and federal police authorities took up to an hour to respond to the aid that the population made to 911 and through social networks. The State Prosecutor’s Office denied this version and said that the first response of the officers was given after 13 minutes.
About it: Massacre in Reynosa: OSC accuses that policemen took more than 60 minutes; Prosecutor says 13
“Their justification is that they were overwhelmed by the number of events that took place in the same area. That’s why they say they didn’t give themselves the time to protect us,” juan explains.
After the murder of Mr Matías, the state police went to the scene to seal him. John wanted to get to his father, cover him with at least a sheet of morbid looks and photographs. But the men in uniform prevented him from doing so.
Juan reports that he had to wait more than four hours until the experts of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Semefo personnel arrived to lift the body that spent hours subjected to high temperatures inside the vehicle. “It was a terrible situation, it hurt us a lot that they left him there so long,” juan laments.
Due to the length of time his body was exposed to the sun, waiting for the authorities to lift it, Matthias was buried the next day, Sunday afternoon.
Juan says that the burial was attended by many colleagues of the construction, a trade to which he dedicated much of his life. He was also dismissed by friends of the colony, neighbors, and many relatives.
You may be interested in: Workers, students, seniors, young people and families, the victims of the Reynosa massacre
“My father was a very dear person, very respected. He never messed with anyone. He never made a bad gesture to anyone,” juan emphasizes.
Now, the carrier says it’s not time to make hasty or hot decisions, let alone motivated by fear. Because, like many residents of Reynosa, he is afraid, obviously.
He has been living in a city that all of Mexico knows is violent for 21 years, he says. That’s why he says he takes the prebonds that everyone takes: do not go out at night, be aware of social networks, avoid problems with people, etc.
But who could foresee a massacre in broad daylight? Who imagined that in this way, out of the blue, a group of assassins would attack the population with bullets and at random?
These are questions that John asks. And for which he finds no answer.
Also: These messages on ‘Whats’ about alleged attacks in Tamaulipas are disinformation
“It’s been a while since there’s this atmosphere of violence in Reynosa, of murders. But we’ve always had to be on the other side, you know? Until this Saturday they murdered my lord father. And not in a crossfire, as sometimes happens, but in an attack. And that’s what gives me and my family the most courage. It gives us courage and powerlessness. Because my father was killed with all the intent. They went to do harm,” he said.
Now, almost a week after the nightmare happened, Juan is still engaged in exhausting bureaucratic procedures to recover Matías’ vehicle. “You have to have the nerves of steel to, in full mourning, do all the paperwork and be brought back and forth,” he says tired.
Therefore, as a way to try to draw strength from where there are none, John says that he turns to the memory of his father. To the memory of that last meal just a few days ago; the two sitting down for a beer, enjoying the talks, the silences, the advice.
“I will always stick with my father’s example of struggle. With his dedication, his passion for his family. My father was the best example of a person I’ve ever had in my life,” Juan concludes excitedly.
On Wednesday in Reynosa, shootings and chases were recorded at several points in the border city.
The most violent incident was a gunshot chase involving two state police patrols and a convoy of armed men who dispersed through several colonies in the west of the city. The shooting continued through the aztlán, las fuentes, and cumbres colonies.
In the southern sector of the city there were also reports of chases and shootings, apparently between a commando and police.
Residents of the various colonies shared on social media the videos they captured about the shootings or where police elements are seen confronting armed civilians.
These clashes come a few days after the multihomicide of last Saturday, June 19, which left 19 dead, of whom 15 were civilians and four alleged aggressors.
Among those killed are elderly people, construction and maquila workers, taxi drivers, a young garbage collector, merchants, families, and a nurse as young as 19.
Tamaulipas Prosecutor Irving Barrios said on June 22 that the strongest hypothesis behind the massacre was the intervention of organized crime groups from Matamoros and Rio Bravo that are fighting over the passage of the Pharr International Bridge. However, no further information has been detailed.
What we do at Animal Politico requires professional journalists, teamwork, dialogue with readers and something very important: independence. You can help us continue. Be part of the team.
Subscribe to Animal Politico, receive benefits and support free journalism.#YoSoyAnimal