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Texas boy, 7, gunned down while visiting his father in Mexico, officials say

By Mariano Castillo, CNN
Raul Xazziel Ramirez was a third-grader at Glen Cove Elementary School in El Paso, a district spokeswoman said.
Raul Xazziel Ramirez was a third-grader at Glen Cove Elementary School in El Paso, a district spokeswoman said.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Raul Xazziel Ramirez was just three weeks shy of his eighth birthday, records show
  • Ramirez was killed Friday along with his father in Ciudad Juarez.
  • The boy managed to escape the vehicle but was shot in the back, police say
  • More than 2,200 slain this year in Juarez; Ramirez was not the youngest

(CNN) -- A 7-year-old boy from El Paso, Texas, was gunned down across the border in the violent city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state attorney general's office told CNN Tuesday.

Raul Xazziel Ramirez had been visiting his father in Juarez on Friday evening when unknown gunmen fired on their vehicle at a roundabout, spokesman Arturo Sandoval said.

At least 18 rounds from a 9 mm weapon were shot at the white 2000 Geo Tracker driven by Ramirez's dad, Sandoval said.

The father, Raul Ramirez Alvarado, 35, died in the driver's seat.

The younger Raul escaped from the vehicle, but was apparently shot in the back, Sandoval said. The boy's body fell forward in front of the vehicle.

The shooting happened just before 8 p.m. Friday. No arrests had been made as of Tuesday, the spokesman said.

Raul Xazziel Ramirez was a third-grader at Glen Cove Elementary School in El Paso, Ysleta Independent School District spokeswoman Patricia Ayala told CNN.

Video: Boy,7, shot and killed
RELATED TOPICS
  • Ciudad Juarez
  • El Paso
  • Shootings

"It's a senseless tragedy that we're trying to come to terms with," she said.

According to El Paso County records, Raul was just three weeks shy of his eighth birthday when he was killed.

The boy lived with his aunt and uncle in El Paso, Ayala said. It was the first semester that Raul was registered with the district.

Raul's classmates were spared the details of his death, but the school was nonetheless shocked at the boy's passing. Grief counselors were made available for both students and teachers, Ayala said.

More than 2,200 killings have been recorded this year in Ciudad Juarez, out of a population of approximately 1.5 million people.

A bloody turf war between warring drug cartels that started last year has made the city one of the most violent in the world.

According to statistics from local prosecutors, Ciudad Juarez records about 10 murders a day. The bloodiest month this year has been September, with 476 killings reported.

The violence has not spilled over significantly across the border to El Paso, but as Friday's shooting showed, the pain of one of the sister cities is shared by the other.

Because of the ongoing investigation, Sandoval declined to say whether drug cartel activity was suspected in the killings of Raul and his father, but added that at least 90 percent of the city's homicides are drug-related.

Raul was not the youngest victim slain this year. In early 2009, a 3-year-old girl was killed together with her father inside a vehicle that was targeted, Sandoval said.