The 13-year-old Oklahoman killed during an ambush attack on a Mexican highway has been identified.
Simei Lopez died late Saturday when authorities said armed individuals crashed into two vehicles traveling along the Reynosa-Nuevo Laredo road in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The armed individuals reportedly shot up both vehicles and fatally wounded the Oklahoma teen.
Simei was in Mexico visiting his family with his brother, 10-year-old Abdiel, and his parents Juanita and Oscar Lopez, of Oklahoma City. The boys’ father Oscar was not with them during the attack but immediately flew down to Mexico.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family.
According to the GoFundMe, Juanita Lopez was shot multiple times and is in critical condition at a nearby hospital. Juanita Lopez and her two sons were driving back to Oklahoma City from visiting relatives in Mexico when they were forced off the road by believed Mexican cartel members and then shot.
The U.S. State Department issued the following statement Monday:
“We can confirm that one U.S. citizen was killed, and two U.S. citizens injured, in an attack in Tamaulipas, Mexico on January 4. We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss, and we are providing them all appropriate consular assistance. We are closely monitoring local authorities’ investigation into this brutal attack. Out of respect for the family’s privacy, we have no further comment at this time.”
Related Story: Oklahoma Family Attacked On Way Back To U.S. From Mexico
The family moved to Oklahoma City from Stillwater where Simei attended Westwood Elementary. The Stillwater district said in a Facebook statement: "Teachers, friends, and classmates mourn this terrible loss. We offer our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones." They offered counseling for students.
Epic Schools confirmed Simei was a student there. In a statement superintendent Bart Banfield said:
"This is a tragedy and we are in shock at this horrific loss of life. Our entire school joins Oscar's teacher and principal in keeping his family and loved ones in our thoughts and prayers."
Family members told News 9 both Juanita and Abdiel are still in the hospital in Mexico and remain in critical condition. Their family is trying to get them to Oklahoma where they can get better care.