- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 8, 2002

MEXICO CITY (AP) After months of complaining that a preschool's daily flag ceremony blocked access to his house, a man raced his pickup truck into a crowd of toddlers gathered in a quiet street outside Mexico City, killing two children and injuring about 20 others.

Jose Luis Nieto, a 56-year-old mechanic who lived near the school, was arrested. He admitted carrying out the attack Monday in Ecatepec, saying he had wanted to hurt one of the school's teachers.

An amateur video shows a man who appears to be Mr. Nieto trying to talk to adults watching the flag ceremony. The footage then shows him climbing into his pickup, backing up briefly and ramming the truck full force into the crowd of 100 children and teachers, dragging several bodies down the street.

Moments before, children dressed in colorful soldier uniforms marched with the Mexican flag while others watched or banged on drums.

Killed were 2-year-old Ariana Martinez and 3-year-old Rodrigo Reyes. Several adults and 20 other children, including a 4-month-old , were injured, some severely, police said.

Shocked toddlers, bloodied and bandaged, recounted on television news reports how the truck was suddenly on top of them.

"The car ran us over," said student Dalia Salas, the white collar of her dress stained with blood and her arm badly scraped. Screaming parents were shown clutching injured, crying children in the bloodied street in front of the school.

Juana Cruz found her young daughter, who was slightly injured.

"I will never forget it. I'm in shock now," she told the Spanish-language network Univision.

Mr. Nieto admitted driving the truck in an interview with local television stations.

"They wouldn't give me access to my house to come and go," he said. "I have a shop in back.

"This was every day, every day until today this happened. I was targeting the teacher."


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