Death toll from Mexico City mariachi plaza shootout rises to four

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© Reuters. A mariachi musician reads a newspaper near a crime scene on the edge of Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City© Reuters. A mariachi musician reads a newspaper near a crime scene on the edge of Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A shootout at a Mexico City tourist site has left at least four people dead, officials said on Saturday, a day after gunmen said by witnesses to be dressed as mariachi musicians opened fire with rifles and pistols in a plaza noted for its mariachi bars.

A foreign man was among nine people who were injured in the incident at the Plaza Garibaldi in the capital’s historic downtown, the city prosecutor’s office said in a statement, without disclosing identities of any of the victims.

Local media reported that two died of injuries after the incident, which would bring the death toll to five. One of the injured who died was included in the officials’ count.

Mexico City has experienced less of the drug violence that plagues the country’s cartel strongholds in other regions. However, since 2014, homicides have surged to record levels in the capital, presenting a major challenge to an incoming city government that has vowed a clean-up.

People at Plaza Garibaldi screamed and ran when they heard shots around 10 p.m. on Friday, although some appeared unfazed by the barrage of gunfire. A video posted to social media showed a musician at a colorful Plaza Garibaldi eatery strumming Mexican tune “La Cucaracha” on a harp, not pausing for a moment as the multiple shots loudly ring out nearby.

Dozens of people stayed in the area to drink and listen to live music, even as police cordoned off the shooting site, placing yellow markers where bullet casings fell.

Police blame much of the capital’s crime on retail drug dealing and protection rackets run by violent gangs, though the government says at least one of these has links to a major national trafficking group, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

Plaza Garibaldi borders one of Mexico City’s most notorious neighborhoods, Tepito, home to La Union gang, which police say is behind a spurt in drug-dealing and protection rackets.

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