CIUDAD JUAREZ – Beneath an enormous Mexican flag fluttering at half-mast, gleaming coffins on Wednesday held the bodies of 12 fallen prison guards and investigators who were killed during a prison break and a shootout. 

The ceremony was put together by the state government of Chihuahua to honor the 10 prison guards killed during the Sunday attack and breakout at CERESO No. 3, and the two state investigative police officers killed Monday during a shootout in the Canto de Murano subdivision of Juárez.  

As families and colleagues of the fallen gathered at the Megabandera, in a section of Chamizal Park in Juárez, state police and National Guard units stood guard around the perimeter with armored vehicles.

Members of Chihuahua’s State Investigative Agency, who lost two of their colleagues to a gun attack on Monday night, bear a casket to its place for a memorial ceremony on Wednesday. (Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters)

The friends and families of the dead cried out with loud sobs as a final roll call was read. Colleagues in the Penitentiary Guard forces and the State Agency of Investigation stood watch over the coffins, some also shedding silent tears.

Government officials who addressed the crowd, including State Prosecutor Roberto Fierro and Chihuahua Gov. Maria Eugenia Campos, offered standard platitudes.

“Their deaths will not remain unpunished and we will find the criminals who committed these cowardly acts,” Fierro said.

The child of a fallen official sits with other family members during a memorial ceremony on Wednesday morning. (Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters)

A mourner heckled Campos with shouts of “Te faltan huevos, pendeja (You don’t have the balls, moron)!” as she promised to “pull out by the roots the corruption that’s in the prisons and get those traitors off the streets.”

Campos had not released an official statement on the prison break until late Tuesday.

Eric Cohan, Consul General of the United States in Juárez, attended the service but did not give a statement. The U.S. Consulate in Juárez had canceled all appointments on Tuesday as a precaution due to the violence of the previous days.

Members of Chihuahua’s State Investigative Agency, who lost two of their colleagues to a gun attack on Monday night, gather for a memorial ceremony on Wednesday. (Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters)

As the ceremony concluded with the blaring of sirens in tribute, families rushed to touch and embrace the coffins of their loved ones before they were carried away to waiting hearses.

The names of the deceased guards and officers are Manuel Rodriguez Soria, Carlos Santiago Padilla Silva, Abel Juárez Hernández, Victor Hugo Rivera Meraz, Carlos Ernesto Salinas Bañuelos, José Ausencio Pérez Puentes, Jaime Arciniega Alvarado, Guadalupe Gámez Galán, Domingo Trejo Serrano, Edgar Omar Hernández Garcia, Omar Eduardo Posada Cárdenas and Edgar Ramirez Ramirez.

Chihuahua state officials and security forces gathered in Juárez to honor 10 prison guards and two police officers killed this week. (Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters)

Corrie Boudreaux is a lecturer in the Department of Communication at UTEP and a freelance photojournalist in the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez region. She specializes in photography as a tool to explore insecurity,...