SAN LUIS RIO COLORADO, Son. – A man wounded by gunfire as he rode a motorcycle was slain a day later when gunman fired on the ambulance carrying him to a hospital in Mexicali, Baja Calif., police said.
An ambulance operated by a private company was traveling on Federal Highway 2 from San Luis Rio Colorado to Mexicali on Saturday when gunmen traveling in one or more vehicles began pursuing it, police said.
The chase ended about 15 miles to the west of San Luis Rio Colorado, in Ejido Hermosillo, a farming community where the victim of the previous day’s shooting was slain and a paramedic on board the ambulance was wounded, police said.
The slain man, identified only as Jorge N., and a female passenger were wounded Friday afternoon on the same highway near San Luis Rio Colorado when the motorcycle they were riding came under fire near the Colorado River toll bridge, police said.
Police said a state police officer who was coming to the aid of the two was wounded in the Friday attack.
Both incidents occurred in the Mexicali Valley, located on Baja California side of the river west of San Luis Rio Colorado and south of Los Algodones, Baja Calif. And the first incident occurred on the same day the U.S. State Department issued an advisory against visiting the area, owing to violence among drug cartels.
In a message posted to its Facebook page, the San Luis Rio Colorado, Son., Fire Department condemned the attack on the ambulance operated by Ambulancias Santiago and warned that it would stop patient transfers absent security measures in place to protect ambulance crews.
“Your problems are between you,” the message said, an apparent reference to those involved in the Saturday attack. “Respect the institutions of emergency.”
The fire department said the paramedic wounded in the ambulance attack was in stable condition in a hospital in the area. Condition reports for the female motorcycle passenger and the police officer wounded Friday had not been released as of Monday.
The man and woman were approaching San Luis Rio Colorado from Baja California when gunmen traveling in a pickup truck fired on them at about 4 p.m. Friday, police said.
The truck was found later abandoned in the dry Colorado River bed, police said. Police, however, were not confirming reports that suspects had been arrested in connection with that attack.
The wounded man was admitted overnight in a hospital in San Luis Rio Colorado before the decision was made to transfer him Saturday to Mexicali for continued care.
As of Monday, police had reported no arrests in connection with the Saturday incident.
The U.S. State Department urged travelers “to avoid the Mexicali Valley until further notice due to the heightened possibility of violence between rival cartel factions.”
It identified the valley as the south of Federal Highway 2, west of the boundary between Sonora and Baja California, and east of Federal Highway 5, and north of the Gulf of California. Federal Highway 2 is an east-west route that connects the two states, while Highway 5 extends south from Mexicali to San Felipe.