Main | Monday, July 19, 2010

MEXICO: 17 Killed In Mass Slaying At Gay Party, Drug Traffickers Suspected

Seventeen people were murdered at a gay party in the northern Mexico city of Torreon yesterday. The party was advertised on Facebook, where it was noted that while the event was being organized by a gay group, all were welcome. Police say gunmen burst into the room and wordlessly opened fire after blocking the exits. Investigators have not ruled out the possibility of the attack being a hate crime, but say they suspect that it was part of Mexico's unending drug war.
It was one of the highest single-incident death tolls since the beginning of Mexico's raging drug war, which has claimed nearly 25,000 lives from the time that President Felipe Calderon launched a military-led offensive against powerful narcotics cartels in December 2006. The dead identified by Sunday afternoon were in their 20s and 30s, some related to one another, according to the prosecutor's office for the state of Coahuila, where Torreon is located. Coahuila borders Texas, and while beset by the same violence terrorizing other border states, has received less publicity. Authorities confirmed the number of dead and said some of the 18 injured were in critical condition. Pictures from the scene showed toppled white plastic chairs, scattered musical instruments and cups and plates and shoes strewn on a blood-splattered floor alongside a tented pool. Empty beer bottles were lined up on tabletops; bullet holes punctured the walls. "The party was ongoing … when gunmen arrived in several vehicles, disembarked and, without uttering a word to those in attendance, opened fire," Jesus Torres, state attorney general, said in a statement. The assailants fled. Investigators recovered 122 spent shells from high-velocity assault rifles.
The identities of the victims have not been released.

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