MEXICO CITY – A video shows a Mexican soldier admitting to accidentally shooting and wounding an 11-year-old boy last weekend in La Huacana, a town in Michoacan state, media reports said on Thursday.
The video, which was made during the incident last Sunday, shows residents demanding that the soldier explain why he shot the boy and his flippant response, Radio Formula reported.
“Gives us an explanation, why did you fire at the boy?” a woman asks the soldier, who replies that it “was an accident.”
Residents then grabbed, disarmed and held the soldiers over the shooting, saying they were acting in self-defense.
“They are criminals, give me a break, what self-defense? There’s no such thing, they’re criminals and that’s it,” Michoacan Gov. Silvano Aureoles said.
The Defense Secretariat told Radio Formula that there were altercations with residents over the weekend, leaving several people dead and wounded, including the boy, who is listed in stable condition at a hospital in Irapuato.
Security and Citizens Protection Secretary Alfonso Durazo said on Tuesday that 4,050 members of the new National Guard would be deployed in Michoacan in July to deal with the violence in the state.
The National Guard was created by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office on Dec. 1.
“The criminal groups do not stop trying to alter safety and commit criminal acts, all reasons why we should close ranks with the determination to fight them with intelligence and a renewed capability to use force,” Durazo said.
The federal security and citizens protection secretary said during a ceremony with Aureoles that Mexico was living through “a time of emergency” when it came to public safety, a situation that “will take time to correct.”
Mexico has been dealing with high levels of crime and violence for decades, with children inevitably ending up victims.
A report prepared by Save the Children found that the child homicide rate (ages 0 to 19) in Mexico was 4.9 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Mexico’s child homicide rate tops those in conflict zones like Syria and Palestine, which are 1.0 per 100,000 inhabitants and 2.7 per 100,000 inhabitants, respectively.