TUCSON, Ariz. — An attack in Mexico that left nine shot to death and burned , including four small children and two infants, was not an accident, several members of the family tell KGUN 9.
Their claims run counter to statements from Mexican authorities, who say they believe the attack may have been the case of mistaken identity. They say the family may have been caught in the middle of violence between "conflicting groups," CNN reports.
But Alex Lebaron, who is a part of the large family, says the attack was carried out by organized crime groups in Mexico, and is not the first such attack.
The family is part of a religious sect in Mexico. They identify as mormon, but have no connection to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the AP reports.
Lebaron says two members of the family -- Benjamine Lebaron and Luis Widmar -- were kidnapped and killed in 2009. He says members of the family testified to convict those involved. The family received government protection after that.
Lebaron says that protection was later reduced to cover only those specific family members who testified in the case. They pleaded with the government for additional protection, but did not receive it.
Daniel Lebaron, another member of the family who lives in Kansas City, also tells KGUN 9 he believes the narrative of mistaken identity is wrong. He also alluded to past incidents involving organized crime groups and the family.
"We have to defend ourselves," he said.