Playa del Carmen shooting: One man who survived the shooting.
A bar in Mexico’s Caribbean coast resort city of Playa del Carmen was left in a bloodbath after seven men were killed during a shooting on Sunday.
Law enforcement authorities said two gunmen allegedly entered Las Virginias bar in a low-income neighborhood away from the beachside tourist zone and opened fired.
The suspects escaped after shooting six men dead inside the bar. Another victim was transferred to Playa del Carmen General Hospital, where he was declared dead.
The Quintana Roo General Attorney’s office said no tourists were reported among the dead, according to Mexican news outlet Sin Embargo.
A male shooting who was wounded during the attack told police he was drinking beers with friends when the gunshots broke out.
According to El Sol de Mexico, witnesses said the attackers unleashed gun fire at the same time before they each took turns shooting at their defenseless targets.
The suspects boarded a getaway vehicle outside the business and escaped. They have not yet been identified.
Playa del Carmen is located on the coast facing the island of Cozumel, Mexico’s leading cruise ship destination.
Once a quiet fishing and ferry town, the tourist attraction has grown exponentially in the last two decades, with lower-income neighborhoods springing up on the inland side of the coastal highway.
The resort is midway between Cancun, to the north, and Tulum, to the south, in the coastal state of Quintana Roo, which has seen homicides more than double in the last year, with 688 killings in the first 11 months of 2018, compared to 322 in the same period of 2017.
At that rate, Quintana Roo could end 2018 with a homicide rate of about 50 per 100,000, on a par with El Salvador.
The Caribbean coast – especially Cancun and the area south known as the “Riviera Maya” – had long been largely spared the drug violence affecting other areas, but that no longer appears to be the case. Local sources report that the feared Jalisco cartel has moved into the region, disputing control with local gangs.
In September, two Mexican marines were found stabbed to death in Cancun. In a single day in August, police found eight bodies strewn on the streets of Cancun.
Sunday night’s attack brought back memories of the January 16, 2017 massacre during an electronic music festival at the Blue Parrot nightclub which left six people dead, including four tourists, and 15 injured.
The following day, gunmen attacked the state prosecutors’ office in Cancun, killing four people.
The U.S. Embassy in Mexico issued a brief travel warning for Playa del Carmen in March. A February 2018 blast on a ferry apparently caused by an explosive device injured 26 people, including several American citizens.
That has sparked fears that the Caribbean resorts could come to resemble the faded Pacific coast resort of Acapulco. The bloody violence in Acapulco that flared in 2006 eventually earned it a level-four “do not travel” warning from the U.S. Department of State.
Still, violence in Playa del Carmen is still far from Acapulco levels. In 2017, Acapulco had a homicide rate of 103 per 100,000 inhabitants, one of the highest in Mexico and the world.