It's an eyewitness account that's almost too horrible to believe.
During an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America", 13-year-old Devin Langford recounts his six-hour trek to seek help after the brutal assault by cartel gunmen on a convoy of three vans carrying members of his family. Nine people were killed during the assault, including Devin's mother, Dawna Langford, and his younger brothers, Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 2. And several of Devin's siblings, including his baby brother, Brixon, who was shot in the chest, and his sister, Kylie, who was shot in the foot.
Devin's family, members of a Mormon sect known as the LaBaron family, relocated to northern Mexico in the 1940s, partly to preserve their practice of polygamy, which was becoming widely shamed in the US, and had been outlawed by the mainstream Church of Latter Day Saints. As it expanded over the decades, the community always managed to coexist peacefully with the locals and, increasingly, the drug cartels who battled for control of extremely lucrative trafficking routes.
But last week, while reportedly traveling to a wedding in a neighboring state, three mothers and six children were brutally murdered after being ambushed by heavily armed cartel gunmen. Devin said the attackers had what he described as "long guns". While traveling from the town of Bavispe in Sonora state to Galeana in Chihuahua state, the convoy encountered the gunmen some time between 9:30 am and 1 pm local time, according to the Mexican authorities, who haven't offered any updates about the identities of any suspects.
Devin said that the shooting seemed to start almost out of nowhere.
"They just started hitting [the] car first, like with a bunch, a bunch of bullets. Just start shooting rapidly at us," he said. "The car didn't work. So she was just trying right there, starting the car as much as she could, but I'm pretty sure they shot something so the car wouldn't even start."
There's been speculation that the attack was a case of mistaken identity, but members of the family suspect that it was intended as a message from the cartels, and many have decided to relocate back to the US (most members of the community have dual citizenship).
At one point during the journey, Devin had to leave his siblings in a secluded area while he continued on alone. Eventually, he found help, and the reports about his family's brutal murder blew up into an international news story. In a tweet, President Trump offered Mexico whatever aid it deems necessary to finally defeat the cartels.
"We walked a little while until we couldn't carry them no more. And so we put them in the bushes so they wouldn't get hit or nothing. So I started walking," Devin said. "Every one of them were bleeding really bad. So I was trying to get in a rush to get there."
Of course, if history is any guide, the more firepower the Mexican and American governments bring to bear against the cartel, the harder the cartels will push back, causing violence to explode. Hence, AMLO's plan to abandon the drug war.
For the entirety of his 14-mile trek to safety, Devin feared that more cartel gunmen might be around the corner, ready to shoot him and his siblings.
As he made the trek for help, he said he wondered "if there was anybody else out there trying to shoot me or following me" and he thought about "my mom and my two brothers that died."
After the shooting stopped, Devin said the gunmen rounded up the survivors and made them all lie down on the floor of the cars, before driving off.
Since the attack, Devin said he's been struggling with feelings of guilt, despite his father's insistence that his actions were nothing short of heroic.
Devin said he doesn't feel like a hero, but his father said there's no doubt in his mind that his son saved lives.
"Every one of my children that survived that are living miracles," Langford said. "How many bullet holes were fired into that vehicle … at that horrific scene and how many children were involved. It's amazing. It's amazing. It's beyond amazing that they survived."
"To be honest with you, my boy's a hero simply because he gave his life for his brothers and sisters," he added.
Watch a clip from the interview with Devin below: