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Falcon Lake, Texas Shooting: Search for U.S. Man Feared Killed By Mexican Pirates Near Border

Falcon Lake Shooting: Search Continues For US Man Shot By Mexican Pirates In Border Waters
David Michael Hartley, right, believed shot by Mexican pirates on Falcon Lake. (Personal Photo)

ZAPATA, Texas (CBS/AP) A Texas sheriff has requested the help of Mexican authorities to find the body of American tourist David Michael Hartley, who was believed shot in the back of the head on Falcon Lake Thursday after being ambushed by armed boaters.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department spokesman Mike Cox said Friday that authorities continued searching the U.S. side of the recreation spot, about 60 miles south of Laredo, for the 30-year-old man.

Hartley and his wife, Tiffany, were riding personal watercrafts back from Mexico on the lake around 2:45 p.m. Thursday when approximately six gunmen approached in two boats and opened fire, said Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez.

Though it is unclear what exactly happened to Hartley, the sheriff said he was apparently shot when the couple attempted to flee after they spotted the boaters. His wife was not hurt and reportedly tried circling back to pull her husband from the water, but she was forced to speed away to U.S. waters after the gunmen opened fire again.

The shooting renewed warnings of pirates on Falcon Lake where there have been five run-ins with the bandits this year, according to Cox.

Gonzalez said the boats followed Hartley's wife beyond the U.S. boundary and the pirates "acted very boldly." He said the couple rode over to Mexico for sightseeing and to take photos of a famous relic in Old Guerrero.

Hartley and his wife moved to McAllen, Texas, from the Mexican border city of Reynosa about five months ago and planned to return to their native Colorado in two weeks, according to Gonzalez. Mexican authorities in Reynosa have been in turmoil with warring drug cartels in recently, but Gonzalez said he believed the shooting was a random attack.

"I would think that, right now, the prudent boater would want to stay on the Texas side," Cox said Thursday.

Cox said the state will issue an advisory Friday alerting boaters to stay on the U.S. side of the lake, a popular site for bass fishing and water skiers.

Gonzalez said he contacted the Mexican consulate and asked them to search for Hartley, but said there was nothing else he could do.


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