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Seven killed in shooting at famous Mexican tourist resort

By Sheetal Sukhija, Colorado State News
10 Jan 2019, 02:11 GMT+10

MEXICO CITY, Mexico - In yet another violent attack in a Mexican city that is popular with tourists, seven people were killed when gunmen opened fire inside a crowded bar in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo.

In the incident, armed men opened fire inside the Las Virginias bar, which is located in the Villas del Sol residential area of the Mexican resort city of Playa del Carmen.

According to officials, six people died instantly after being shot at the bar, while the seventh person died shortly after being rushed to the Playa del Carmen General Hospital.

Officials added that several other people were wounded in the attack, which became the latest incident of violence to rock the country's cities famous for beaches popular with tourists from across the world.

Law enforcement authorities told the local media that two gunmen allegedly the bar and opened fired.

Following the attack, the public security minister for the state of Quintana Roo, Alberto Capella, delivered a statement on TV network Televisa and confirmed, "Six people lost their lives at the scene, and a seventh subsequently died while being taken to the hospital."

According to local media reports, the bar was about ten minutes from the center of the main tourist zone and was packed with revelers at the end of the Epiphany holiday weekend at the time of the attack.

El Sol de Mexico quoted witnesses as saying that the attackers unleashed gun fire at the same time first, then took turns shooting at their defenseless targets.

Witnesses also said that the perpetrators fled the scene in a getaway vehicle that was waiting outside the building and escaped.

In a statement, Martin Estada, Municipal Director of Public Security, said that after the attack was reported at 8:11pm, police were immediately sent to the bar and a search for the aggressors was activated.

Estada added that a substance that appeared to be an illegal drug was found at the scene of the crime.

Meanwhile, Capella pointed out that the latest incident bore the hallmarks of a drug cartel hit.

On Tuesday, Laura Beristan Navarrete, the Mayor of Solidaridad vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Navarrete said, "This cowardly act must not go unpunished. We have the resolute conviction and will power to work hand-in-hand with the state government in a head-on fight against crime. We cannot and must not allow the image of Solidaridad as a tourist destination to continue to be stained."

According to reports, the municipal government has now asked the Quintana Roo Attorney Generals office to conduct a prompt investigation into the attack.

However, so far, authorities are yet to make arrests in the case.

In a statement issued to the Mexican news outlet Sin Embargo, the Quintana Roo General Attorney's office said that no tourists were reported among the dead.

The Mexican resort city of Playa del Carmen, near Cancun, is known for turquoise waters and white-sand Caribbean beaches.

The country's resort cities have been increasingly hit by violence since 2006, when the government deployed the army to crack down on drug cartels.

Most recent cases of brutal attacks have been linked to Mexico's powerful drug cartels, that are fighting for control of the area.

According to figures released by the government, more than 200,000 people have been murdered since 2006, including a record 28,711 that were killed in 2017.

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