Two teens from California were killed execution-style in a triple murder in Tijuana, Mexico, located near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Christopher Alexis Gomez, 17, Juan Suarez-Ojeda, and an 18-year-old Mexican friend were found dead at the Lomas Verdes housing complex in Tijuana, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported via the Los Angeles Times. They were reportedly shot execution-style.
Both Gomez and Ojeda were from San Diego, and Ojeda had graduated from Ingenuity Charter School in Encanto earlier this year, while Gomez was a football player in his senior year at O’Farrell Charter High School in Encanto, reports said. The 18-year-old’s name was not released.
The three had gone together to a party in Ensenada on Friday, Nov. 23, and were supposed to come back the same day, the report said.
A motive in the case is not clear, the report said.
A Tijuana police investigator told Gomez’s family that the three were tortured before they were gunned down, Gomez’s cousin Katheryn Garcia told the paper.
On Sunday, Nov. 25, the teens were shot at an apartment complex in south-central Tijuana, Fox5 reported. When police arrived, they discovered the bodies of three teens clothed only in their underwear in front of an apartment door.
Investigators said the teens likely were forced to kneel before each was shot execution-style, the Fox affiliate report said.
Garcia said her cousin was “an innocent boy” who was the “sweetest, most selfless person” she knew. He got his first job cleaning cars near the San Diego International Airport before graduating high school and joining the U.S. Marines, she said.
“We’re all in disbelief that this happened,” Garcia said on Nov. 28. “This was his first time going over to Tijuana or Ensenada.”
“I know how this story sounds, like something that people hear on the news: You go to Tijuana and this happens,” Garcia added. “But he was the most selfless, kindest boy ever. … This shouldn’t have happened to him.”
Gomez reportedly called his mother early on Nov. 24, telling her they were safe but lost their cellphones, said Garcia. That was the last time anyone heard from them.
Gomez’s uncle went to Tijuana and confirmed his nephew’s identity.
“It’s been pretty devastating for students and staff,” O’Farrell Charter School Superintendent Jonathan Dean said to the Union-Tribune. “It’s a tough situation.”
Faculty at O’Farrell set up a GoFundMe page for the families of both teens.
“Juan has four siblings at O’Farrell and Chris has a younger sibling in our elementary. Juan had been enrolled at OCS since the 7th grade and he graduated from Ingenuity in June 2018. Chris had been enrolled at OCS since the 6th grade and was expected to graduate high school in June 2019. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and everyone who has been affected by this senseless act.” the page reads.
Thousands of Migrants in Tijuana
Thousands of migrants from Central America have taken up residence in Tijuana in recent days, and the vast majority of them are staying at the Benito Juarez sports complex, an outdoor recreation area.
Tijuana’s Health Department warned on Nov. 29 that of the 6,000 migrants in the city, about a third have health-related issues such as chickenpox, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, skin infections, and more.
About 100 of the migrants have lice, officials said.
Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum said earlier in the week that the city doesn’t have much money to help the migrants, and it will only do so for a few more days, Fox reported.
“We won’t compromise the resources of the residents of Tijuana,” Gastélum said. “We won’t raise taxes tomorrow to pay for today’s problem.”