When four bodies were found at the side of the Mexico City-Toluca highway early yesterday morning it looked like the work of a crime gang.
But investigators soon reached another conclusion: the victims were thieves who had attempted to rob bus passengers.
Witnesses aboard the bus, who were traveling to Mexico City from San Mateo Atenco, have told police that the four boarded the vehicle at about 6:00am in San Pedro Tultepec. They took seats in different parts of the bus but minutes later stood and threatened passengers with a gun and knives, demanding their belongings.
After gathering the loot, the four proceeded to the front of the bus and ordered the driver to stop. But as they headed for the door a passenger stood up and began firing a 9-mm hand gun.
The thieves fell out the door and landed on the roadside, where the shooter finished them off with another five shots.
The latter gathered up the packsacks that contained fellow passengers’ belongings and returned them to the bus. “Here are your things. Each one of you can collect your belongings.”
He ordered the driver to resume the journey but got off the bus a few kilometers down the highway and disappeared.
Investigators later found a fake pistol in the clothing of one of the dead men. They also found a bus ticket, which led them to the hijacked bus.
State of México Attorney General Alejandro Jaime Gómez Sánchez said surveillance video from the San Mateo Atenco bus station is being analyzed to try to identify the man who shot the robbers.
He also expressed concern about an individual taking the law into his own hands while recognizing that the Mexican constitution empowers citizens to detain others engaged in committing a crime.
The newspaper El Universal said the case was the seventh it has documented this year in which a passenger had acted against a robbery on a transit vehicle.