Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Birthday Fiesta Turns Bloody at Sunday Morning Mexican Shooting

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The latest incident of Mexican violence occurred on early Sunday morning, July 18, about 1:30 a.m. What one report termed a “murder squad” arrived in eight SUVs to a private birthday party. The celebration was being held at a popular rental venue just outside the industrial suburb of Torreón, described as a usually quiet location amid lakes and gardens in the northern state of Coahuila.  

Witnesses said one of the gunman shouted “Kill them all,” followed by a burst of shooting. As of Monday morning, there were at least 18 reported dead and 17 wounded, most in their 20s and 30s. According to police the hit men “shot at everything that moved.” Using AK-47 automatic rifles, more than 200 bullets were indiscriminately fired at the partygoers. An AFP report said the police could neither identify the shooters as yet nor come up with a motive. Referring to it as the “fiesta shooting,” Mexican officials felt the attack was probably the work of area drug cartels, but they could not determine a specific motive either. The party scene turned crime scene was a chaos of overturned chairs, broken glass and blood.

The total of those killed in Mexican violence just this past weekend is now at 58.

The Latin American News stated:

Across northern Mexico there has been an increase in mass shootings, especially at parties and in bars. Many have blamed the violence on warring drug cartels and the clampdown on drug trafficking by the government of Mexican President Felipe Calderón.

A car bomb exploded late Thursday night in the troubled border city of Ciudad Juárez, killing two police officers and two medics, as well as injuring 16 other people. The bomb is believed to have been set off by a mobile phone.

The perpetrators allegedly lured authorities to the scene by calling for emergency crews.

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Local authorities said that the car bomb was a retaliation against the police for the arrest of Jesús Acosta Guerrero, a leader in the La Línea drug gang. La Línea is allegedly part of the Juarez drug cartel.

Relating the specifics, José Reyes, Mayor of Ciudad Juárez, stated that gang members had used a wounded person dressed as a city police officer, to lure the federal police into the main intersection before detonating Thursday’s car bomb.

Although Ciudad Juárez is referred to as “Ground Zero” for Mexican drug violence, averaging about seven such deaths daily just last year, Torreon has lately risen in experiencing similar violence due to its location near the U.S. border and at an important intersection on two prominent highways. Earlier this year in an attack there similar to Sunday’s, gunmen in three Hummers killed 10 people after shooting into a crowded bar.   

President Calderon has assigned about 50,000 soldiers to aid police throughout Mexico but it has not stemmed the death toll. He took office in December of 2006 with the stated goal of ending the drug cartels a “national priority,” but nearly 25,000 citizens have nevertheless perished as a result of the on-going violence there.

Photo: Police officers patrol a street in Torreon, in the Mexican northern state of Coahuila, on July 19, 2010: AP Images