Nine people lost their lives and at least 14 were injured when gunmen opened fire at a wake in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Tuesday night, authorities said.
At 10:40 p.m. a call was made to 911 reporting shots fired in the crime-riddled Antonio Barona neighborhood northeast of the city center. The state prosecutor’s office said the unknown assailants descended upon funeral services being held for a 16-year-old boy who died the previous day in a motorcycle accident.
The shooters arrived in a number of vehicles and were carrying assault rifles reserved for military use. More than 60 rounds were fired. The weapons they used are suspected of having been employed in other recent attacks, police say.
Four people died at the scene, and the remaining five died soon after.
Among the dead are a woman and two boys aged 15 and 16. The 15-year-old has been identified as aspiring soccer player Diego Miranda Bautista who had been invited to join Cruz Azul, a professional soccer team in Mexico City.
“Mayor Antonio Villalobos Adán strongly condemns and deeply regrets these events and shares the indignation and grief of the families of those who lost their lives,” the municipality said in a statement.
Restaurants and other businesses in the neighborhood affixed black bows of mourning to their storefronts as a sign of sorrow and outrage over the killings.
Cuernavaca communications director Carlos Félix Gaxiola said Thursday that the mayor has asked the federal government for a “substantia” increase in the presence of the National Guard in the region in response to Tuesday night’s events, and is reviewing how the city addresses crime.
“Cuernavaca demands an exhaustive, real and self-critical review of the crime prevention strategy and authentic coordination at the highest level,” Félix said.
Last month six young men were gunned down in the street in a similar attack after being ambushed by armed assailants who arrived in two vehicles in the Flores Magón neighborhood. At least one of the victims had a criminal record, and it is believed that the attack was linked to organized crime.
In February, Ramón Castro Castro, bishop of the Diocese of Cuernavaca, pleaded with Morelos Governor Cuauhtémoc Blanco to rethink his security strategy and said organized crime had overtaken the state. “It is time to ask them, plead with them, encourage them to be more effective … I think that if they organize themselves better they can get better results,” he said.
Yesterday, the president of the Morelos Bar Association and former state Attorney General José Luis Urióstegui Salgado called for the removal of the governor and the state security commissioner from office, citing Tuesday night’s shooting as a further example that organized crime acts with impunity in Cuernavaca, a situation he says the current administration is incapable of, and disinterested in, resolving.