A U.S. missionary died at a southern Texas hospital Wednesday after her husband rushed her, mortally wounded, over the Rio Grande from Mexico.
Sam Davis told police that he and his wife were traveling about 70 miles south of the border when gunmen in a pickup truck tried to stop them. When the couple sped up, the gunmen fired, wounding his wife in the head, he said.
Nancy Davis, 59, died in a McAllen hospital about 90 minutes after her husband drove the couple's truck against traffic across the Pharr International Bridge, according to a statement issued by the Pharr Police Department.
Pharr Police Chief Ruben Villescas said Mexican authorities had confirmed that the shooting occurred near San Fernando, about 70 miles south of Reynosa. The area is controlled by the Zetas drug cartel and is one of Mexico's most dangerous. It is the same area of Tamaulipas state where 72 Central and South American migrants were found slain in August, a massacre blamed on the Zetas.
Pharr police and U.S. customs agents converged on the Davises' truck just before 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, after Sam Davis stopped in the middle of bridge traffic to seek help. Nancy Davis was bleeding from a head wound in the passenger seat.
A police statement said the Davises live in the lower Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas but did not specify where or provide details about Nancy Davis' missionary work.
The Mexican Interior Ministry released a statement expressing its condolences. It said Mexican authorities were investigating the shooting but gave no details.
In late September, an American tourist was killed on a border lake about 170 miles northwest of San Fernando, and concerns about the investigation prompted Texas Gov. Rick Perry to call for a stronger response from Mexican authorities. David Hartley's wife says he was gunned down by Mexican pirates while riding a jet ski on the Mexico side of Falcon Lake. His body was never found.