Survivor Of Mexican Student Attacks Tells Of Bullet-Riddled Escape : Parallels As the investigation into the presumed murder of 43 students in Mexico continues, one student who says he escaped the attacks describes how police surrounded the students' buses and began to fire.
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Survivor Of Mexican Student Attacks Tells Of Bullet-Riddled Escape

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Survivor Of Mexican Student Attacks Tells Of Bullet-Riddled Escape

Survivor Of Mexican Student Attacks Tells Of Bullet-Riddled Escape

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Authorities in Mexico are still investigating the kidnapping and presumed murder of 43 college students. In a courtyard of their rural teaching college in southern Mexico, 43 plastic chairs sit empty except for a photo of each of the missing students. It was there that NPR's Carrie Kahn spoke to a student who says he was one of the survivors of the attack.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: It was September 26 when three busloads of students headed out of the school toward Iguala, Guerrero, about an hour and a half away. Carlos Martinez, a 22-year-old junior at the school, says unfortunately they arrived just as the mayor's wife was giving a political speech. Thinking they came to disrupt the event and on orders of the mayor, police chased the students out of downtown and on to the main road, where Martinez says more patrol cars arrived and surrounded the buses.

CARLOS MARTINEZ: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: The police jumped out and started shooting, says Martinez, you could hear gunfire everywhere. NPR couldn't independently confirm Martinez's account, but it is consistent with other eye witness versions and investigators' statements. As the bullets flew, Martinez says, he and a bunch of students ran out of the bus and hid behind it.

MARTINEZ: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: We kept screaming we aren't armed; stop shooting, says Martinez. He watched as one of his friends, Aldo, was shot in the head and fell to the ground. According to authorities, the Iguala police shot and killed three students that night, as well as three bystanders. Martinez says surviving students were loaded into patrol cars and taken away. He and the rest who had been hiding waited for police to come back, thinking they would investigate the crime scene.

MARTINEZ: (Through translator) But they didn't come back. So we started to try to mark where all the bullets had hit with rocks and plates and trash, whatever we could find. After about an hour and a half, the police returned and just started shooting. They were firing so fast. I ran with about 15 other guys and hid behind a small red car. I saw them shoot another friend dead.

KAHN: In a lull, Martinez says, he and his friends ran, they turned a corner, scaled a wall and jumped onto the roof of a small room. Authorities say the corrupt cops turned the 43 students over to a drug gang, who killed them and burned their bodies that night.

MARTINEZ: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: Martinez says he and the other students stayed on the roof until 5 the next morning. He says no one moved despite the heavy rainfall. Forty-four police officers from Iguala and a nearby town are under arrest. The police chief is a fugitive. Why he wasn't taken away and killed, Martinez says he doesn't know, it was the luck of the draw.

MARTINEZ: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: He says he will continue searching for the students. I owe it to them, he says. If it had been me that night, they would do the same. And he adds he won't stop fighting until everyone responsible for this crime, everyone, is brought to justice. Carrie Kahn, NPR News.

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