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Police: US missionary possibly killed over truck

An American missionary couple who were attacked by gunmen in Mexico drove up to an illegal roadblock in a dangerous area of the country that has had 40 violent car thefts in the last two months, a Mexican official said Thursday.

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Sam and Nancy Davis, missionaries working in Mexico, were shot at Wednesday while working in Mexico, and Nancy Davis was killed.

The gunmen opened fire after the driver, Sam Davis, decided not to stop, said an official in Mexico’s Tamaulipas state attorney general’s office who would not be identified because he is not authorized to discuss the case.

Davis’ wife, Nancy, was shot in the head by a bullet that shattered the rear window of their 2008 Chevrolet pickup truck, Pharr police Chief Ruben Villescas said Thursday.

Sam Davis told U.S. investigators that he drove as fast as he could to the border, about 70 miles away, with his wife bleeding in the seat next to him. Faced with a long line of traffic waiting to enter the U.S., he drove in the opposite lane across the Pharr International Bridge to the border checkpoint.

Nancy Davis, 59, was rushed to a hospital in McAllen, where she was later pronounced dead. An autopsy was scheduled for Thursday.

Authorities say the couple’s heavy-duty truck is the kind prized by criminal organizations in Mexico, and similar to ones Pharr police say they can often single out as stolen before the vehicles are driven across the border.

“Driving that type of truck is an eye-catcher,” said Pharr police Sgt. Ray Lara, who routinely patrols bridge traffic. “We figure maybe they don’t bother the church people. But they want those trucks.”

There were conflicting reports about where the attack occurred. In a news release on Wednesday, the Pharr Police Department said it happened near the city of San Fernando, about 70 miles south of the Mexican border city of Reynosa. But according to the Tamaulipas official, the assault happened about 7 miles south of Reynosa on a highway connecting San Fernando with the border. The area is one of Mexico’s most violent and dangerous.

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