Celaya, Mexico, Sep 17 (efe-epa).- Five people were killed Thursday in this central Mexican city when assailants armed with long guns opened fire inside a home during a wake for a man slain at the same residence earlier this week, authorities said.
The 3.00 am attack in Celaya’s Ejidal neighborhood left four other people wounded.
All five of the fatalities were women, Mexican media outlets said.
Municipal police, supported by elements of the National Guard and the army, rushed to the scene and began a search for the gunmen, the city’s Office of Public Safety said in a statement.
Within minutes, they spotted a vehicle matching the description provided by witnesses and ordered the driver to stop. When the person at the wheel stepped on the accelerator instead, police and troops undertook a pursuit.
The occupants of the vehicle shot at their pursuers, who returned fire, killing one of the suspects.
The other three people in the vehicle were arrested as they tried to take refuge in a house where authorities found weapons, ammunition and unspecified tactical equipment.
Police said that the SUV used by the suspects had been reported stolen prior to the assault.
Celaya is located in Guanajuato, since 2018 the most violent of Mexico’s 32 states.
Guanajuato accounted for roughly 13 percent of the more than 21,000 murders reported in Mexico during the first seven months of this year.
Much of the violence in Guanajuato is attributed to a battle between two criminal organizations, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, to control the trade in fuel stolen from pipelines.
Dozens of police have been killed amid the struggle between the cartels to dominate the fuel-theft racket, which represents a lucrative sideline for outfits that make most of their money from illegal drugs.
Jose Antonio Yepez Ortiz, known as “El Marro,” reputed leader of the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, was arrested in July, but getting him off the streets did not end the violence in Guanajuato.
Thursday’s attack was similar to one that occurred Sept. 1 in Cuernavaca, where eight people were fatally shot and 14 others at a wake for a young man who died in a road accident.
The bloodbath in Cuernavaca appeared to be the work of organized crime, according to the Morelos state Attorney General’s Office.