Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua - Six people, including three attending a wake, were killed in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s murder capital, the Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office said.
Gunmen burst into a house Saturday night in the Independencia neighborhood and opened fire on a group of people holding a wake.
Three women died in the attack and 12 other people were wounded, the AG’s office said.
Several of the wounded are listed in serious condition at hospitals in Ciudad Juarez, located across the border from El Paso, Texas, the press reported.
Investigators found 44 bullet casings from 9 mm pistols inside the house, where a wake was being held for a man murdered in the town of Parral.
Three other people were killed in separate incidents Saturday night in Ciudad Juarez, where more than 5,000 people have died in drug-related violence since 2008.
Jose Luis Perez Ramirez, 25, was shot in the head in the Terrenos Nacionales neighborhood, the AG’s office said.
The body of a woman who had been shot several times was found in a street in the Fray Garcia San Francisco neighborhood.
The body of an unidentified man, whose head was wrapped with a trash bag, was found in the Senderos del Sol neighborhood.
Six Federal Police officers were ambushed and killed on Friday in Ciudad Juarez, which has been plagued by drug-related violence for years.
The murder rate took off in the border city of 1.5 million people in 2007, when more than 800 people were killed, then it more than doubled to 1,623 in 2008, according to press tallies, with the number of killings soaring to 2,635 last year.
The death toll for this year currently stands at more than 700, including 16 people massacred on Jan. 31 while attending a birthday party in the Villas de Salvarcar neighborhood.
Ciudad Juarez, with 191 homicides per 100,000 residents, was the most violent city in the world in 2009, registering a higher murder rate than San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, Caracas and Guatemala, two Mexican non-governmental organizations said in a report released earlier this year.
Juarez first gained notoriety in the early 1990s when young women began to disappear in the area.
More than 400 women have been killed in Juarez since 1993, with the majority of the cases going unsolved.
In most of the slayings, the victims were young women from poor families who came to the border city from all over Mexico to work in the many assembly plants, known as maquiladoras, built here to take advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
President Felipe Calderon’s administration has deployed about 5,000 Federal Police officers in the border city to try to stem a wave of violence unleashed by drug cartels battling for control of smuggling routes into the United States.
The Juarez and Sinaloa cartels, backed by hitmen from local street gangs, have been fighting for control of the border city.
Press reports say the Sinaloa organization, Mexico’s oldest and largest drug cartel, has effectively taken control of Juarez.