In an incident that took place in broad daylight on Wednesday that left at least 17 other people dead, gunmen invaded a town hall in southern Mexico and killed the mayor, according to police.
The Guerrero state prosecutor’s office promised in a statement that it would bring to justice those guilty for the murders of San Miguel Totolapan‘s mayor and his father, who was also a former mayor.
Screaming could be heard as local TV video displayed the municipal building’s front covered in gunshot holes.
Sandra Luz Valdovinos, the state’s attorney general, said on Milenio Television that there have been 18 verified fatalities and two injuries so far.
The prosecutor’s office informed the local media that in addition to Mayor Conrado Mendoza, police officers and city council members were also killed.
The attack’s motivation was not immediately clear.
The “cowardly murder” was denounced on Twitter by Mendoza’s leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).
The PRD stated, “We demand justice, enough of impunity.”
Following the assault, a defensive group made up of both state and federal law enforcement officials declared that it had sent personnel to the area.
Evelyn Salgado, the governor of Guerrero and a member of the Morena party in power, declared that she had asked for a quick investigation into the incident.
“There will be no impunity for the vicious aggression,” she tweeted.
“I join the grief that overwhelms family and friends.”
According to local media, the crime group Los Tequileros, also known as “The Tequila Drinkers,” is connected to the Jalisco Nueva Generacion drug cartel.
However, the group’s influence decreased after one of its commanders was killed in a shootout with authorities in 2018.
According to local newspapers, claimed members of Los Tequileros had distributed a video on social media threatening to return to the town just days prior to Wednesday’s attack.
One of Mexico’s poorest states, Guerrero, has experienced years of unrest brought on by drug cartel territorial fights over the state’s opium poppy and heroin manufacturing regions.
San Miguel Totolapan is a city along a drug trafficking route that is contested by various cartels and is situated in the violently turbulent Tierra Caliente region.
Since the government sent troops to fight the cartels in 2006, Mexico has seen more than 340,000 homicides, most of which are attributed to drug trafficking groups.
Since 2000, Mexico has seen the assassination of 94 mayors, including Mendoza, according to data from the research firm Etellekt.