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FBI investigating man's death in Mexico's Ciudad Juarez

By the CNN Wire Staff
Two people were killed and a third injured in a drive-by shooting Wednesday in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Two people were killed and a third injured in a drive-by shooting Wednesday in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
  • NEW: National Guard confirms the victim was one of theirs
  • The 21-year-old man was killed in the border city of Ciudad Juarez
  • Service members are asked to stay away from the border city

(CNN) -- The FBI is investigating the death in Mexico of a man who was a U.S. service member, an agency spokesman said Thursday.

Jose Gil Hernandez Ramirez was killed Wednesday in Ciudad Juarez. Hernandez was a member of the Texas National Guard, officials said Thursday.

Hernandez, a private first class, was a fire direction sensor specialist assigned to Headquarters Battery 3rd Battalion, 133 Field Artillery, the National Guard said.

The El Paso, Texas, resident, 22, had been in the Guard since 2007.

"The Texas National Guard family has lost a friend and fellow soldier and he will be missed, but more importantly the soldier's family mourns the loss of a loved one," the Guard said in a statement. "At this time there is no more important and honored duty than to surround the family with our love, and support them through this very difficult time."

Hernandez was a student during the week and reported for National Guard duty on weekends and annual training.

The FBI is working closely with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, said FBI spokesman Michael Martinez, who is based in El Paso, Texas.

Hernandez was killed during a drive-by shooting, according to the Chihuahua Attorney General's office.

Ciudad Juarez is in the Mexican state of Chihuahua and shares a border with El Paso.

Juarez is Mexico's bloodiest city, with more than 2,500 drug-related deaths reported this year. Nationwide, more than 28,000 people have died in drug violence since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon took office and started his stepped-up campaign against organized crime.

Because of the violence, Juarez is considered off-limits for the U.S. military. A memorandum at Fort Bliss in Texas prohibits soldiers from traveling into Chihuahua.

In November, a member of the U.S. Air Force was among six people killed when gunmen entered a strip club in Ciudad Juarez and opened fire.

Hernandez was standing on the street by a car when he was shot by gunmen about 1 p.m., Mexican authorities said. A second person, Rafael Ramirez Reza, 22, originally from Juarez, was also killed, said Carlos Gonzalez, spokesman for the Chihuahua Attorney General's office.

A third person who was not identified was injured in the shooting, Gonzalez said.

A local newspaper, El Diario, said Ramirez was negotiating a car sale when he was shot.

CNN's Nick Valencia contributed to this report.