Guests, hotel staff forced to hide as gunmen kill 2 at Cancun beach resort

·2 min read
A police officer keeps watch as a vehicle from the coroner's office is parked at the entrance to a hotel, after two people were shot dead Thursday in a beachfront clash between rival groups near the Mexican resort of Cancun, in Puerto Morelos.  (Paola Chiomante/Reuters - image credit)
A police officer keeps watch as a vehicle from the coroner's office is parked at the entrance to a hotel, after two people were shot dead Thursday in a beachfront clash between rival groups near the Mexican resort of Cancun, in Puerto Morelos. (Paola Chiomante/Reuters - image credit)

Gunmen opened fire at a Cancun beach resort on Thursday, killing two people in what Mexican state officials called a confrontation between rival drug dealers that witnesses said forced tourists and hotel staff to hide for several hours.

The shooting occurred on the beach near the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun, an all-inclusive resort in Puerto Morelos that is popular with American tourists.

The attorney general's office in Quintana Roo state said nobody else was seriously injured in the gun battle, but did not specify if any other injuries occurred. The state police chief wrote in his Twitter account: "There are no seriously injured or kidnapped tourists."

The news site Notacaribe reported one person was injured at the scene after being hit with the handle of a weapon.

The attorney general's office went on to say that "there was a clash between rival groups of drug dealers on a beach" near the hotels. Several cartels are fighting for the area's lucrative retail drug trade, including the Jalisco cartel and a gang allied with the Gulf cartel.

Targeted 'execution'

A senior state official said a group of gunmen arrived by boat in pursuit of the men who were slain, in what another Mexican official said appeared to have been a targeted "execution."

Mike Sington, a Twitter user and former executive at NBC Universal, told Reuters by direct message that he was hiding with other guests of the resort in a dark area of the hotel and that staff had not explained what was happening. Other guests told him they heard gunshots and that a gunman had been on the beach, he said.

Hotel staff later sent text messages saying the gunman had been apprehended and that staff would escort guests to their rooms where they were ordered to shelter in place, Sington said.

"I've never been so scared, literally shaking," he tweeted.

He later added that guests were taken out of hiding and brought to the lobby, where they cried and hugged each other.

WATCH | Tourists pack lobby after hiding from gunmen:

In a statement released Thursday evening, Global Affairs Canada said it is not aware of any Canadian citizens affected by the shooting but continues to monitor the situation closely.

Canadian citizens requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the Consular Agency of Canada in Cancun, Mexico at 52 (55) 5724-9795 or cncun@international.gc.ca or call the department's 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre at 1-800-387-3124 (toll-free), +1 613-996-8885 or by sending an email to sos@international.gc.ca.

Mexican security forces were sent in to reinforce Tulum — another popular resort about 130 kilometres from Cancun — after two foreign tourists were killed and others wounded last month during a shootout between suspected gang members.

CBC
CBC
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