News24

US missionary fatally shot in Mexico

2011-01-27 10:03

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico, Jan 26, 2011 (AFP) -An American who served as a missionary in Mexico was fatally shot in the head Wednesday when she and her husband fled from roadside gunmen near the US border, officials said.

Nancy Shuman Davis, 59, was pronounced dead at a hospital in the US state of Texas, shortly after her husband sped across an international bridge toward the immigration checkpoint, according to police.

"The male driver quickly directed officers to his spouse who was in the front passenger seat suffering from a gunshot wound to the head," said Ruben Villescas, police chief in the city of Pharr, Texas, near the Gulf of Mexico.

The midday incident took place near the city of San Fernando. Nancy and Sam Davis were driving in their pick-up truck on a highway when they were confronted by gunmen in a black pick-up truck, Villescas said in his statement.

"The gunmen were attempting to stop them and the victims accelerated in efforts of getting away from them," the police chief said. "At a certain point the gunmen discharged a weapon at the victim's vehicle and a bullet struck the victim."

Sam Davis "drove at high rate of speed not allowing to be stopped by the gunmen until reaching the Pharr International Bridge and getting the help," said the police chief, adding that she was in critical condition on the bridge, but died about an hour later.

A statement from the Mexico's Interior Ministry said authorities were investigating "for the purpose of clarifying the facts and to act accordingly to punish the person or persons responsible."

The couple was identified by police and friends as longtime missionaries in Mexico, with a home address of Monte Alto, Texas.

Villescas said Sam Davis will be further interviewed "to learn more facts to include the nature of their visit in Mexico."

The Beavertown God's Missionary Church in the state of Pennsylvania posted a message on its website Wednesday that described Nancy and Sam Davis as affiliated with Gospel Proclaimers Mission "and were well known to holiness people everywhere and were personal friends to several within our congregation."

The church said Nancy Davis served in Mexico "for over 35 years with her family, she has now given her very life for her people."

The Mexican state of Tamaulipas, which borders Texas, has experienced drug-related violence, including disputes between rival cartels.

Violence linked to drug trafficking has claimed more than 34,600 deaths in Mexico in the past four years, according to government figures.