8 people killed in mass shooting "right in the center of town" near resort area in Mexico

Inside Mexican/American gunrunning networks

Eight people died in a weekend shooting in Mexico's Morelos state, adjacent to Mexico City, authorities reported Sunday.

The attack occurred Saturday in the municipality of Huitzilac, off a highway connecting the capital with the tourist town of Cuernavaca.

Four people died on the scene while four others died after being taken to the hospital, the Morelos prosecutor's office said. Seven of the victims ranged in age from 29 to 50 years old while the eighth victim was not immediately identified.

All eight bodies were transferred to the forensic medical service facilities as the investigation into the shooting continues, officials said.

The forested mountain township of Huitzilac has been plagued by illegal loggers, kidnappers and drug gangs, in part because it provides the closest rural hideout near Mexico's capital.

The town's mayor, Rafael Vargas, called the attack "a terrible violent act."

"Right in the center of town, several people were attacked and killed," Vargas said. Apparently aware of the town's rough reputation, he added: "The violence should stop. We will denounce all types of slander that seek to damage our people."

Morelos is a popular vacation destination for Mexico City residents, although it borders  restive Guerrero state, where various drug cartels operate.

In November of last year, an armed confrontation between police and alleged criminals left nine dead in Cuernavaca.

Around 450,000 people have been murdered across the country since 2006, when the government launched a controversial anti-drug offensive involving the military, according to official figures.

Last week, 18 bodies were found in Zacatecas, a northern Mexican state reeling from a wave of drug cartel-related violence. Messages addressed to a criminal group were found with nine of the corpses, authorities said.

Last month, a journalist was killed in Morelos after taking his daughter to school.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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