A Texas National Guard soldier gunned down in violent Ciduad Juarez crossed the border despite the Guard urging soldiers not on active duty to stay out of Mexico, officials said Thursday.
Pfc. Jose Gil Hernandez, 22, and another man were killed Wednesday on a street in the bloody border city. The Guard said Hernandez had been a soldier since 2007 but was not on active duty.
The Guard prohibits soldiers on active duty from going into Mexico, and urges those who are not to forgo crossing the border unless absolutely necessary, Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada said. It was not clear why Hernandez, who lived in El Paso, had gone into Juarez.
The Guard and the FBI said Thursday that Hernandez's death was under investigation.
"The Texas National Guard family has lost a friend and fellow Soldier and he will be missed," the Guard said in a statement.
Ciudad Juarez has become one of the world's deadliest cities amid a turf war between the Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels. More than 2,000 people have been killed this year in the city, which is across the border from El Paso.
Soldiers at the Army's Fort Bliss are no longer allowed to cross the Rio Grande and travel into Juarez, whose nightclubs were once a popular place to party.
Hernandez is at least the third American serviceman killed in Juarez since the drug war began. Last year, an off-duty U.S. airman from New Mexico was killed along with five other people when gunmen shot up a bar.
In 2008, a U.S. Marine Corps reservist was shot and thrown off a cliff in the city.
Hernandez was a student when not on duty with the Guard, which he served as a fire direction sensor specialist. He was assigned to the Headquarters Battery 3rd Batallion, 133 Field Artillery.