Assailants gun down 7 in Acapulco
ACAPULCO, Mexico – More than a dozen armed assailants staged and videotaped simultaneous attacks against two offices of the state attorney general in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco on Tuesday, killing at least seven people.The attacks took place shortly before 11 a.m. (1700 GMT) in two neighborhoods about 15 kilometers (nine miles) north of the tourist zone, said Enrique Gil Mercado, special prosecutor for the attorney general’s office in the state of Guerrero, which includes Acapulco.Three state police investigators – Carlos Castillo, Raul Narciso and Jose Luis Santoyo – were killed along with a secretary, Griselda Olivares, at an office in the Emiliano Zapata neighborhood, and two state police investigators – Salvador Rodriguez and Felix Suastegui – and a secretary, Angeles Gonzalez, were killed in Ciudad del Renacimiento, Gil said. Their ages were not available immediately.About eight men armed with assault weapons participated in each attack. Gil said he did not immediately know how many people were injured. He said all the attackers escaped, including one who fled on foot. Authorities initially said city police stations were attacked, but later revised that information.Erit Montufar, director-general of the attorney general’s investigative-police offices in Guerrero, said the assailants dressed in military uniforms and pretended to be conducting a revision of local officers’ arms. He said apparently the victims were fooled by the disguises.President Felipe Calderon, who took power in December, sent more than 7,000 troops to the Acapulco region last month to fight drug gangs. At the beginning of January, he sent 3,300 soldiers and federal police to Tijuana, where city police officers were stripped of their guns for inspection amid allegations that some were colluding with drug smugglers.At the office in Renacimiento, one of the assailants asked “Are you the only ones here?” and at the Zapata offices, another asked, “Are these all the weapons you have?” Montufar said.The officials said yes to both questions and handed over their weapons, after which some of the assailants opened fire while at least one videotaped the shootings in each office, Montufar said.Other offices were later evacuated as a precaution, Formato 21 radio reported.Police found a car and two vans believed to be abandoned by the attackers, complete with military uniforms and weapons inside. The assailants apparently took off the uniforms before fleeing, Montufar said, citing eyewitnesses who said they saw numerous men getting out of at least one of the vehicles wearing T-shirts and shorts.Police did not comment on a possible motive for the attacks or on why the assailants may have videotaped the murders.In June, federal prosecutors announced they were investigating a homemade DVD purporting to show four hit men from the Gulf cartel being beaten and interrogated and one of them shot in the head. Eight federal agents were arrested and accused of being involved in the videotaped beating, but five were later released due to lack of evidence. Police said the DVD killing was likely carried out as part of a dispute by rival drug gangs.Acapulco has suffered a wave of killings as rival drug cartels fight over coastal smuggling routes. Control over a burgeoning local drug market is another motivation for the violence.Last year, the heads of at least six police officers and alleged drug smugglers were found in the resort and nearby towns. One washed up on a beach in the tourist zone. The rest were dumped on streets.Tourists have not been immune from Acapulco’s violence.On Saturday, two Canadian tourists suffered minor injuries after being grazed by bullets fired at the city’s Casa Inn Hotel. The two were treated and released from a local hospital. Mexican police have not made any arrests in that case.