August 1, 2008

El Paso boy slain in Mexico

By Daniel Borunda / El Paso Times
Article Launched: 07/31/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT

EL PASO -- An 11-year-old El Paso boy was killed Monday during a highway robbery on the Durango-Mazatlan road in Mexico.

The boy, Rico Armando Bañuelas, was on a family trip to Mazatlan when robbers tried to stop the Volkswagen Jetta he was riding in near a section of mountain road known as "El Espinazo del Diablo," (the devil's spine), El Siglo De Durango newspaper reported on its Web site.

The robbers opened fire, killing Rico, when the Jetta sped past a roadblock the bandits had set up and used to rob bus passengers and another vehicle. The suspects were captured.

Bañuelas was a student at St. Pius X School and is the nephew of Monsignor Arturo Bañuelas, pastor of St. Pius X Catholic Community.

"It's a real tragedy," church Deacon Jim Szostek said. "Rico was kind of unique. Like the Spanish word 'travieso' (mischievious). He was a whole lot of fun. ... We are family here, that's why it's so difficult."

The Jetta's driver, Rey del Valle, and Rico's mother, Norma Patricia Chairez, were wounded.

Rico's brother Saul, 19, and his sister Esperanza Bañuelas, 15, were not hurt, stated online news reports from Durango.

Szostek said the Bañuelas siblings have returned to El Paso. Monsignor Bañuelas and Rico's father, Armando Bañuelas, were in Mexico on Wednesday to retrieve the boy's body with the assistance of church officials. Funeral services are pending.

Daniel Borunda may be reached at; 546-6102
El Siglo De Durango newspaper

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