A caravan of 18 vehicles carrying a hundred members of a Mormon community leaving their home in Mexico following a violent attack arrived in Arizona on Saturday.

The families arrived nearly a week after Monday's attack, during which nine women and children were killed by reports that the authorities claimed to have been hit by drug cartels.

On Saturday, families were coming in and out of a gas station in Douglas near the port of entry as the sun began to set, the Arizona Daily Star reported. They filled up with gas, inflated their tires and got food before heading back to Tucson in Phoenix.

Their trucks were loaded with cartons, bicycles, spare tires and bags, as they were leaving the Mexican communities that their families had been calling home since the 1950s.

The families lived in two hamlets in the state of Sonora in Mexico: La Mora and Colonia LeBaron. Other inhabitants of the hamlets have planned to leave in the next few days.

Monday's attack took place as women traveled with children to visit relatives.

The dispersed community has its origins until the end of polygamy, more than a century ago, forcing Mormon families in the United States with several wives to settle elsewhere.

Bryce Langford, whose mother was killed, told The Daily Star that he was about to visit his brother in a Tucson hospital. Dawna Ray Langford, 43, was killed along with two of her sons, aged 11 and 2. She is survived by 11 children and her husband, said Bryce Langford.

Of the children who escaped, one was hit in the face, the other at the foot. A girl was shot in the back and foot. Another Langford brother hid six children in the bush and marched to La Mora for help.

"We are very proud of him," said Langford. "Being able to make such decisions in such circumstances is something that few people can say they can do."

One girl who was classified as missing disappeared in another direction, despite her gunshot wounds, for help.

Langford said the community had learned more about cartel killings in the area in recent months and people were considering moving. After Monday's ambush, they decided it was something to do. Most families travel to Phoenix and others to Tucson. They do not know where they will settle in the long term, Langford said.

Leah Langford-Staddon told The Associated Press that her mother and another sister, Amy, came to Arizona with as many goods as possible. Langford-Staddon said those leaving were planning to disperse between their different parents for now, but that they would like to settle together in a new place.

"They spent the whole day yesterday packing up. It was frenetic, "she said on the phone from Tucson, where she was monitoring a hospital where five wounded children were being treated.

Those who left made a quick decision, said Langford-Staddon, adding, "Basically, it's just things that can be replaced."

The population of La Mora has decreased, some only visiting a few times a year, said Langford-Staddon. Bryce Langford, who grew up in La Mora but now lives in North Dakota, said it was not easy for loved ones to leave land they had been calling home for more than 50 years.

"The assets they have acquired there are huge," he said. "And having to get up and leave overnight and leave all that behind, there are certainly a lot of sad people here."