A fight between two rival gangs in the violence-ridden southwestern state of Guerrero left 18 people dead, including a mayor and a former mayor, and two others injured, authorities said on Thursday mexicans.
Among those shot dead in San Miguel Totolapan on Wednesday were Mayor Conrado Mendoza, his father and former mayor Juan Mendoza, and other local officials, according to a statement from the Guerrero state government.
“This happened in the context of a dispute between criminal gangs,” Deputy Security Minister Ricardo Mejia said, adding that organized crime groups La Familia Michoacana and Los Tequileros appeared to be involved.
Speaking at a press conference alongside President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mejia said an investigation was underway to find the perpetrators.
Investigators were also working to verify a video in which Los Tequileros appear to claim responsibility for the killings, he added. Both gangs are involved in drug trafficking, as well as extortion and kidnapping. Guerrero is a major heroin-producing state.
Mexican daily El Universal reported earlier that the gunmen appeared to have carried out a coordinated series of attacks inside the building in an effort to kill the mayor.
Separately, in the central state of Morelos, state legislator Gabriela Marin was shot dead and her bodyguard injured outside a pharmacy on Wednesday evening. Mejia said he “can’t rule out revenge or some other political motive.”
Lopez Obrador’s presidency has seen record levels of homicides.
He has been criticized by civil society for giving the armed forces increased responsibility for internal security, including through the creation of a national guard that has been stacked with military personnel.
Originally intended to be a civilian institution – which replaced the federal police – the president decided to place the national guard under the control of the army.
The move was criticized by domestic opponents and the United Nations over the militarization of public security and sparked nationwide protests.
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