Two men accused of kidnapping a child were nearly lynched in Tlahuelilpan, Hidalgo, Tuesday night. The incident began around 8 p.m. when rumors spread through social media that police had taken into custody two men in their 20s who had attempted to abduct a 13-year-old boy.
Residents descended on the police station and attempted to kick in the door, attacking police officers who sprayed them with tear gas. Two people were shot and wounded.
Four police cruisers, two cars and two motorcycles were set on fire during the melee, and the National Guard was called in to establish order.
The accused kidnappers, who were assaulted by townspeople, were transported to a nearby hospital. One of the men suffered serious injuries.
Last month three alleged cattle rustlers in Jagüey, Hidalgo, were rescued from a lynch mob by police. Residents also set a car on fire in that case although no injuries were reported.
On both occasions, Hidalgo police used a state protocol that stipulates that when public assemblies turn violent, police may use force only when all other options have been exhausted.
Residents in Tlahuelilpan have been on edge since the August 2 disappearance of 18-year-old Mariana Zavala Escamilla, and several protests have been organized in recent weeks.