Three hours of gunfire yesterday afternoon in the Ciudad Victoria prison left at least four people dead and six wounded, according to a spokesman for Tamaulipas state security.
But unofficial reports put the death toll at nine.
“The preliminary count is four dead and six wounded,” said Luis Alberto Rodríguez last night. “Three of the dead are police and one an inmate.”
Inmates were reported to have begun a riot in response to an operation officials were planning inside the jail.
The administrative area of the prison had been evacuated beforehand, as were the offices of the DIF family services agency located some 100 meters away.
For witnesses outside the facility the situation seemed to have calmed last night, but it wasn’t for long.
State police arrived at the prison at 7:40 this morning and gunfire began three minutes later. It has continued off and on since.
At least six ambulances had also arrived outside the prison gates.
The scene there was chaotic last night as inmates’ relatives demanded to know what was happening inside after dozens of police officers arrived and entered the prison.
More than 10 ambulances also showed up along with state and federal police, Civil Protection and the Army.
Citizens outside wanted a report on what was happening from the warden. “They’re going to kill them, they’re going to kill them!” shouted one woman, mother of an inmate.
“You’re not worth shit,” shouted another at a reporter, ordering him to go inside the jail.
When the warden appeared at the gate this morning inmates’ relatives asked that he speak with him. When he declined they threw stones at his vehicle.
The prison has been a hotbed of unrest at least since March 23 when 29 inmates escaped through a tunnel. Nine of those remain on the loose.
Less than a month later a riot left one inmate dead and four injured.
A search the following day found four hand guns, two AK-47 assault rifles, a grenade, three high-frequency telecommunications devices and drugs.