MEXICO CITY, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Mexico's Attorney General has charged three Mexican soldiers with homicide in connection with the shooting deaths of 22 people during an alleged confrontation with drug cartel members in June.
Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam announced the murder charges Tuesday.
The charges stem from an incident on June 30 that was initially characterized as a firefight. In that account, soldiers were fired upon while on patrol in the southwestern municipality of Tlatlaya, and returned fire on the suspected members of La Familia Michoacana drug cartel, killing 22.
Although the Defense Ministry brought eight soldiers involved in the shootout before a military court last week for "crimes against military discipline, disobedience and violation of official duties," the Attorney General has charged only three soldiers with homicide. Murillo Karam confirmed the incident, which lasted for eight to 10 minutes, began as a firefight but that three of the eight soldiers were responsible for firing "a new series of gunshots that had no justification whatsoever."
The Los Angeles Times reported that journalists who visited the site of the incident observed walls splattered with blood that seemed to suggest the gang members had been executed.
Human rights organizations pressured officials to open an official investigation into the Tlatlaya killings.