13 Killed in Mexican Car Wash Massacre


Gunmen opened fire on a car wash in western Mexico on Wednesday, killing at least 13 people, an official said. It was the third massacre in Mexico in less than a week.

The gunmen drove up to the car wash in the city of Tepic and opened fire without provocation, said the official with the attorney general's office of Nayarit state, where the city is located.

Between 13 and 15 people were killed and at least two were injured, according to the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the case and spoke on condition of anonymity. The motive was not immediately clear.

President Felipe Calderon, speaking at a forum on security just as news of the massacre was emerging, called for a minute of silence for the victims but did not offer any details.

The Interior Department issued a short statement expressing "condolences to the family and friends" of the victims, whom it described as "a group of young people in Nayarit." It also offered no details on the shooting.

Calderon also called the moment of silence for the victims of the two other massacres since Friday: an attack on a birthday party that killed 14 young people in the border city of Ciudad Juarez and a shooting at a drug rehab center in Tijuana that killed 13 recovering addicts.

The three attacks did not appear to be related. Such mass shootings have become increasingly common in Mexico, where drug-gang violence has surged in recent years.

Authorities did not say who might be behind the attack in Tepic, but drug gangs were blamed in the first two massacres.

In Tijuana, prosecutors say they are investigating whether that attack was related to a record seizure of nearly 135 tons of marijuana last week. Shortly after the attack, a voice was heard over a police radio frequency threatening that there would be as many as 135 killings in Tijuana — a possible reference to the government's pot haul.

In Ciudad Juarez, investigators said two men found dead Tuesday — one of them decapitated — might have been involved in the birthday party massacre Friday night. A note left with the bodies accused the men of killing women and children. The victims of the party attack ranged from 13 to 32 years old and included six women and girls.

In other bloodshed in Ciudad Juarez, gunmen killed three undercover Mexican federal police officers as they waited for a person to cross a bridge from El Paso, Texas, authorities said Wednesday.

The Chihuahua state attorney general's office gave no further details of Tuesday's shooting, but motorists crossing the Cordova Americas International Bridge at about 1:30 p.m. were told by officials that there was a delay because of a shooting.

In an unrelated attack, a Chihuahua state police officer was killed Wednesday in his Ciudad Juarez home, said Arturo Sandoval, a spokesman for the state attorney general's office.

A territorial battle between the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels has torn Ciudad Juarez for nearly three years, claiming more than 6,500 lives, many of them police. The city of 1.3 million is one of the world's deadliest.

Federal police have come under increased attacks in Ciudad Juarez since taking over security in the city from the military earlier this year.

At least 115 police officers or investigators have been killed in Ciudad Juarez this year — including 32 federal police.

The bodies of some federal officers have been found with signs accusing Calderon's government of protecting the Sinaloa cartel. The government vehemently denies the charge, noting that many suspected members of all Mexican drug gangs have been arrested.

In the northwest city of Culiacan, meanwhile, gunmen burst into a Red Cross hospital and kidnapped a young man who had been shot, said Martin Gastelum, a spokesman for the Sinaloa state attorney general's office.

The 23-year-old man had just been brought in with a gunshot wound when the armed men burst in, opened fire and hauled him out, Gastelum said.

Gastelum said he did not have further information but did not believe any Red Cross workers were hurt. (AP)