Two people are dead after gunfire erupted on a Cancun beach on the shores of a Mexican resort town popular with American and European tourists, Mexican authorities said.
Police and witnesses said the shooter was an apparently accomplice at the beach bar or a man and woman who had been in the bar earlier in the day. Both of them were killed in what Cancun city police Chief Genaro Cardenas described as an apparent drug “execution.”
The Cancun hotel association didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Latino.
Police said at least 19 people were injured in the shooting. Many of them were tourists. Witnesses said everyone fled when the shooting began at around 11:30 p.m. local time.
Mexico’s attorney general said Sunday’s shooting occurred on an island in the Cancun bay, not far from the beach resort that has drawn millions of tourists for decades.
Attorney General Ernesto Torres said an arrest warrant had been issued for suspects who remain at large.
Torres told Radio Formula that those involved were being looked at by the attorney general’s office’s drug task force, suggesting drug trafficking was the motive.
The surfboard-and-beach bar reportedly serves as a hideout for drug traffickers, the Associated Press reported.
Witnesses said when the shooting began many people were playing with or waving their drinks at the attackers.
“It was crazy because we couldn’t even understand what was going on because there was shooting, and a lot of screaming,” said one of the witnesses to the Associated Press.
One person reportedly ran toward a restaurant and hid when a bullet entered through a hole in the wall.
Mexico has battled a violent drug war since shortly after President Felipe Calderon took office in late 2006, and although official killings have dropped by about two-thirds since Calderon took office, a drug cartel-related homicide is reported every other day.
Mexico has said all along that its crackdown on the drug cartels is only partially responsible for falling violence, with much of the violence carried out by independent criminal groups battling for turf, smuggling routes and other organized crime concerns.
Many of the cartels have diversified into other businesses – kidnapping, extortion, arms sales – and they can kill with impunity even though the police and military now play a major role in Mexico’s efforts to fight criminal gangs.
In February, a Salvadoran drug cartel kidnaped and tortured an innocent Brazilian tourist in Mexico before killing him and dumping his body in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero.
In January 2016, 15 people were killed and nine wounded in a shooting that broke out at the Playa de Carmen resort town of Cancun, one of the most popular tourist destinations along Mexico’s Caribbean coast. Police have said the death toll could have been higher but most of the victims – and their families – didn’t cooperate with the investigation.
Back in March 2015, an alleged Mexican drug cartel boss was killed in a nightclub in Cancun’s tourist zone. Enrique Sagastume, leader of the notorious Zetas drug cartel, was gunned down while holding a gun fight with undercover Mexican marines in the “Mujeres Hamam” club on March 19, 2015. The Marines were supposedly investigating whether the club served drugs and gambling.
Though Cancun was seemingly spared the worst in drug cartel violence, it did see several homicides that connected the city to massacres and kidnappings.
In 2007, a decapitated torso was left in a bag on a street in Cancun and in 2007 a group of 50 victims found bound, gagged and on a killing spree across the Mexican resort city of Tulum. The victims were burned and buried in the municipality of Iztapalapa, a slum next to the resort.
Then in 2014, an alleged drug boss was found with his face blown off after apparently going on a revenge killing spree. The killers then left the bodies of the bodies of two men outside a bank in Cancun.
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