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Police and military personnel at the scene of Tuesday's shooting in Ixtapa. Police and military personnel at the scene of Tuesday's shooting.

Cops unarmed when killed by gunmen

Their weapons had been taken away after they failed their evaluation tests

Gangsters who attacked and killed three police officers in Zihuatanejo Tuesday had a distinct advantage over their foes: they had guns and the cops didn’t.

The three municipal police officers were among six who were on duty at a police station in Ixtapa when they were attacked by gunmen dressed in police uniforms.

The real officers were carrying no guns, only truncheons, because they were among 115 of the force’s 386 members who had failed trustworthiness and evaluation tests.

According to federal regulations, weapons can only be issued to federal, state and municipal police officers who have passed the evaluation tests established by the National Public Security System (SNSP).

State government sources told the newspaper Reforma that worsening violence in the municipality is a consequence of a dispute between the Guardia Guerrerense and Sangre Nueva Guerrerense criminal gangs.

And, they said, the dispute extends within the municipal police department because many officers are aligned with one or the other gang. Those relationships are now under investigation by the state Attorney General.

Tuesday’s aggression has some people wondering how the attackers were able to traverse the city’s main street in trucks while carrying weapons without raising an alarm among local officials. Some say the practice has carried on since.

Violence in the municipality has been bad for over two weeks, since the beginning of the Easter Week vacation period.

“There are gun fights every day on the streets; people have stopped going out at night and opt to stay in their homes,” a local journalist told Reforma.

Last December, business leaders met with a local Army commander and informed him that the mayors of the municipalities of Iguala, Chilpancingo, Acapulco, Taxco and Zihuatanejo had failed to properly train their police departments.

Tuesday’s killings took place just 50 meters from La Malkerida, a bar where an armed confrontation between two groups April 8 killed four people. The bar was set on fire a week later, consuming it and seven other bars and a house.

Source: Reforma (sp)
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