Saturday, June 22, 2024

Armed attack at birthday party leaves 6 dead, 26 injured in Sonora

An armed attack at a fifteenth birthday party or quinceañera in Sonora has left six people dead, including two minors, and at least 26 people injured.

The massacre took place at around 2 a.m. on Friday, at a house in the Cajeme municipality of southern Sonora, according to a statement by the Sonora Attorney General’s Office. A Chevrolet pickup truck pulled up outside the party, from which three gunmen got out and opened fire, joined by a fourth person who was already at the site. All four attackers then fled.

According to the state Prosecutor’s Office, the massacre was an attack against a member of a criminal group, who had active arrest warrants for several crimes. (@fgjesonora/X)

Three men and three women were killed. Unofficial reports indicate that two of the dead were 14-year-old girls. The state authorities counted 26 people injured, most of whom are in stable condition, except for four with an unknown prognosis.

According to law enforcement, intelligence suggests that the massacre “was an attack against a member of a criminal group, who had arrest warrants for attempted femicide, aggravated homicide, abduction and criminal association.” This man was among the six dead.

Unconfirmed media reports state that this alleged criminal was known by the alias “El Wacho” or “El Soldado,” and may have been a methamphetamine dealer.

Witness testimonies cited by local media claim that a fight had broken out at a family celebration for a girl’s fifteenth birthday, at which both children and adults were present. Shortly after the men involved were asked to leave, the armed commando pulled up and opened fire on the party attendees.

Police and Red Cross ambulances later arrived at the scene, transporting the dead to the Forensic Medical Service in Ciudad Obregón, and the injured to the nearby IMSS-Bienestar hospital. The Ministerial Agency for Criminal Investigation (AMIC) has begun inquiries to locate the attackers.

“The State Security Board is in permanent session, exchanging information and intelligence, and a search bloc has been formed,” the Attorney General’s Office assured. “Those responsible for this criminal act will be identified, captured and brought to justice.”

Several opposition politicians lashed out at President López Obrador following the massacre, pointing out that Cajeme is one of the municipalities the president visits frequently, and is one of the most violent municipalities in Mexico.

“Not only did [the president] go back on his promise of peace, but violence has increased and he continues to bow down before criminals,” Senator Lilly Téllez, of the opposition National Action Party (PAN) wrote on social media platform X.

Figures from the Sonora Public Security Committee confirm that Cajeme is the fifth most violent municipality in Mexico, recording 96 homicides during the third quarter of 2023. However, its homicide rate has declined to 19.8 per 100,000 inhabitants, from a peak of 36.7 per 100,000 in the fourth quarter of 2021.

With reports from La Jornada and Infobae

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