Rocky Point travelers not deterred by deadly shooting



Video reported by Steve Bodinet

Posted on December 19, 2013 at 11:02 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 19 at 11:20 PM

MESA, Ariz. -- Despite the recent deadly shooting near a luxury resort in Puerto Penasco, some Rocky Point-bound travelers are not changing their plans.

Mexican security forces raided members of a drug cartel in the area Wednesday, and five people were killed in the gunbattle.

The Gulf of California resort at Puerto Penasco is popular with tourists from Arizona and other parts of the United States.

Valley residents Gary and Carol Porter will visit Rocky Point this holiday season with as many as 400 other people.

The Porters volunteer with Families Helping Families, an organization that builds houses in Mexico for families in need.

"It was a little surprising, but we've traveled to many places in the world that are a little bit dangerous and we're careful," Carol Porter said. "The kids look forward to this and we're excited to go again."

Gary Porter said they have been building homes with the organization for seven years.

Families Helping Families President Ralph Pew said Thursday that none of the volunteers had cancelled.

"We don't intend to allow an incident of that nature to deter us from this vision we have," he said. "We want to move forward and this event does not change our attitude about how we want to proceed with our project."

The organization hopes to build eight houses in less than two weeks.

But Mesa travel agent Paul Seiferth expects the shooting to significantly impact leisurely travel to Rocky Point -- an area that is usually bustling with U.S. tourists during the holiday season.

"It has changed because of the drug cartels and the problems along the border," he said. "I do think people will be hesitant."