2 US officials hurt in confusing Mexico shooting

An armored U.S. Embassy vehicle is checked by military personal after it was attacked by unknown assailants on the highway leading to the city of Cuernavaca, near Tres Marias, Mexico, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012. AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini

(CBS/AP)MEXICO CITY - The Mexican Navy says federal police shot at an embassy vehicle carrying two U.S. government employees after the vehicle came under attack from unidentified gunmen.

The shooting appears to have been a case of a confused gunbattle that broke out on a rural road just south of Mexico City.

The Navy said Friday the embassy personnel were heading down a dirt road to a military installation when a carload of gunmen opened fire on them and chased them, along with a Navy officer accompanying them.

Alerted to the gunfire, a federal police patrol vehicle came to the scene and apparently opened fire. The statement does not make clear whose bullets injured the U.S. workers.

A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press both men hospitalized, one with a wound to the leg and the other hit in the stomach and hand. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said they are in stable condition.

The official said the wounded were not agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration or FBI, but did not identify which agency they work for.

Military guards stand in front of an armored U.S. Embassy vehicle attacked by unknown assailants on the highway leading to the city of Cuernavaca, near Tres Marias, Mexico, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012.
Military guards stand in front of an armored U.S. Embassy vehicle attacked by unknown assailants on the highway leading to the city of Cuernavaca, near Tres Marias, Mexico, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012.
AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini

The U.S. Embassy had no immediate comment.

A Mexican army official said the SUV with diplomatic plates was found after a report about a shootout on the two-lane highway. The army official was not authorized to be quoted by name. He said a Mexican navy captain was also in the vehicle, but was not injured.

The Toyota vehicle was riddled with bullets, most concentrated around the passenger-side window, indicating possible involvement by experienced gunmen.

The shooting occurred on road winding through a mountainous area where drug gangs, common criminals and leftist rebels have been known to be active in the past.

The scene of the shooting was cordoned off and guarded Friday by more than 100 heavily armed marines and soldiers, and the highway was closed. Investigators examined what appear to be shell casings left at the scene.

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