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American Nun Shot in Head by Gunman in El Salvador

June 23, 1989|From Associated Press

SAN SALVADOR — An assailant in a pickup truck shot an elderly American nun in the head as she and two other nuns were riding in another truck, a witness and authorities said Thursday.

Sister Mary MacKey, 72, was in serious condition with a bullet lodged behind her left eye. U.S. Ambassador William G. Walker said she was conscious when he visited her at Policlinica Hospital at midday Thursday.

MacKey, a native of Ireland, is a naturalized American citizen who has worked in Central America since 1963 and in El Salvador since 1983.

The Wednesday evening shooting occurred 10 miles south of here outside Zaragoza, where MacKey, a registered nurse, worked at a home for war orphans. Cpl. Asencio Mejia of the Zaragoza Civil Defense said that the assailants and their vehicle have not been found. The motive for the attack was not known, and a robbery attempt was cited as one possibility.

Extreme rightists and some armed forces officers consider nuns, priests and other church people who work in poor communities to be guerrilla sympathizers.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Barry Jacobs said MacKey probably will be flown in coming days to Houston, headquarters of her order, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.

Sister Ana Maria Brangan, who was driving the pickup carrying MacKey and another nun, said she and her companions were approaching Zaragoza from the capital when a yellow pickup carrying at least six men--four of them riding in the back--pulled alongside. A single shot was fired, she said.

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