A mother recalls the horrifying moments when she discovered her 5-year-old son brushing brain matter and blood off the side of her husband's head after the man had been gunned down in front of their home in Honduras.
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The mother, who identified herself as Brenda and is now with her children in Mexico, said her husband was shot dead on their doorstep last year as the boy sat in his lap. Her husband had been targeted by gang members because he was a security guard who was trying to help clean up his neighborhood, she said.
"The boy was removing the pieces of brain," said Brenda in Spanish.
Fearing for her family's life after threats were made against them, Brenda fled north with her three young sons in tow, taking refuge in the small town of Tapachula in southern Mexico near the border with Guatemala.
Brenda, like many Hondurans who have been forced out of their homes by unrelenting violence and devastating poverty, looked to the U.S. as a destination for a better life. But recent news reports of deportations has her worried that she and her family may end up back in Honduras if she attempts to cross into the U.S. Instead she is planning on seeking asylum in Mexico.
"I can't go to Honduras because they'll kill me," Brenda said.
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Brenda's oldest son, 10-year-old Jefferson, can name family members and friends who have been killed by Honduran gangs. He said he wants to grow up to be a doctor. He also said he wants revenge against his father's killers.
Honduras' homicide rate was 90 slayings per 100,000 people in 2012, the worst in the world and six times the global average, NBC News reported.
The story of Brenda and her sons, Jefferson, Anthony and Anderson, comes to light as more than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been detained after crossing the Texas-Mexico border since October in what President Barack Obama has called a humanitarian crisis.
Obama appealed to Congress on Tuesday for $3.7 billion in emergency spending to deal with the flood of illegal crossings, largely by people from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
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Murrieta, a city of about 100,000 people in southern Riverside County, has become a flashpoint, with demonstrators gathering daily since protesters forced government buses with Central Americans to reroute when they blocked access to a Border Patrol station.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.