13-y-o prayed as he walked miles to get help after mother, brothers killed in Mexican ambush

Devin Langford, Dawna Langford, Trevor, Rogan.
Devin Langford, 13, his late mother Dawna Langford, 43 (R-inset), and his late brothers Trevor, 11(R -top inset), and Rogan, 2 (R- bottom inset).

Days after watching the execution of his mother and two of his brothers by armed gunmen in Mexico last Monday, Devin Langford, 13, who walked 14 miles and several hours to get help for his surviving siblings, said he prayed to God over and over to get him through the ordeal.

The teenager’s mother, Dawna Langford, and his younger brothers, Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 2, were among nine women and children from a fundamentalist Mormon community who were shot and torched to death in broad daylight by gunmen, suspected to be members of a drug cartel, on Nov. 4, in what authorities believe may have been a case of mistaken identity.

Recalling the events in an interview with ABC News, Devin said when the gunmen started raining bullets on the vehicle his mother was driving, the last thing she told him was to "get down right now."

The shooting he said appeared to have damaged the vehicle and prevented it from working. He could hear his mother praying to God for help to get the car moving again but it wouldn’t start.

“She was trying to pray to the Lord, and she was trying to start the car up to get out of there," Devin said.

"They just started hitting [the] car first, like with a bunch, a bunch of bullets. Just start shooting rapidly at us. 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,” he explained.

Devin who was not injured in the attack and survived along with six of his other siblings. He said after the gunmen attacked his family “they got us out of the car, and they just got us on the floor and then they drove off."

Relatives say after the ambush, Devin “hid his 6 other siblings in bushes and covered them with branches to keep them safe while he went for help.” It took him approximately six hours before he was able to reach his family and share the first news anyone had heard of the attack.

According to El Universal, the gunmen who attacked the members of the Mormon family interrupted all communication in the region and created a security fence around the area of the attack, which prevented local security forces from intervening.

He told ABC News that while he was running to find help he was troubled the whole time by images of the execution of his mother and brothers as well as wondering "if there was anybody else out there trying to shoot me or following me."

Many of his surviving siblings were also hurt so he also prayed over and over for his family to pull through.

Devin’s father, David Langford, called his son a hero and said all of his surviving children are living miracles.

"To be honest with you, my boy’s a hero simply because he gave his life for his brothers and sisters," David said.

"Every one of my children that survived that are living miracles," David added. "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."

More than 100 members of David’s family who had been living in Mexico with dual American and Mexican citizenship since the 1950s as part of the fundamentalist Mormon group arrived in Arizona on Saturday, the Associated Press reported.

Devin’s older brother, Bryce, told the Arizona Daily Star that his brother exhibited mature thinking in the way he responded to the shooting.

“We’re very proud of him,” Bryce said. “To be able to make those kind of decisions under those circumstances is something not a lot of people can say they can do.”

Bryce, who was raised in La Mora but now lives in North Dakota, told the publication that even though it wasn’t easy, the family took the decision to leave Mexico and 50 years of history behind for their own safety.

“The assets that they’ve acquired down there are tremendous,” he said. “And to have to up and leave from one day to the next and leave all that behind, there’s definitely a lot of sad people here.”

The last funeral service for victims of the massacre was also held on Saturday.

In an interview with ABC News, Dave Langford said the attack on his family had turned his whole life “upside down.”

“Not only have I lost a wife and two children, but I'm having to move the rest of my family with really no place to go at this point," he said.

Despite his willingness to forgive his family’s attackers he is also calling for justice.

"I believe in forgiveness, but I also believe in justice and forgiveness doesn't rob justice. You don't get justice too much in Mexico,” he said.

In a joint statement Sunday, Mexico’s Security and Citizen Protection Secretariat and Foreign Relations Secretariat announced that the FBI would be invited to "accompany" investigators from the federal prosecutor’s office examining the shootings that killed the members of the Mormon community.

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