In the third mass homicide to jolt Mexico in less than one week at least 15 people were killed in an attack by a group of assassins Wednesday morning in the west coast city of Tepic, Nayarit.
According to witnesses the heavily armed and masked gunmen arrived in 3 SUV’s and shot everyone inside the establishment. A fruit vendor at a kiosk outside of the establishment and a rider on a motorcycle were also shot and killed.
According to the Tepic chief of police, Secretario de Seguridad Publica Fernando Carvajal Cazola, there were three survivors of the attack that are currently hospitalized. The survivors were not identified. It is not uncommon for organized crime assassins to invade hospitals and finish off survivors of execution attempts.
Local news sources, however, identified one of the survivors as Heleodoro Rodriguez Vega, a top aide to the Nayarit State Attorney General, who was shot in both legs as he walked by the car wash.
The chief of police also reported that among the dead were eleven recovering addicts who were residents of a drug rehabilitation center, Centro de Rehabilitación "Alcance Victoria" (Victory Outreach).
Several of the victims wore t-shirts from the rehab center that read “fe y esperanza” (faith and hope).
The state Governor, Ney González, expressed condolences to the families of the eleven youths who were in drug rehabilitation and were employees of the car wash. He also announced that all available resources would be provided to the families of the 15 victims.
Although no motive for the attack has been reported by authorities there is speculation that it may be related to another organized crime style execution that occurred at another Gamboa car wash location the day before.
According to police reports Fernando Martín Reyes Sevilla, from Mazatlan, Sinaloa, was waiting with his 3-year-old son for his car to be washed when he was attacked by unknown gunmen on Tuesday.
He was shot and killed as he tried to flee the facility. Posts on citizen's forums speculate that Reyes Sevilla was associated with an organized crime group and that an employee may have informed a rival group of his location or that employees of the car wash may have recognized Reyes Sevilla's killers.
If either theory is true then the killers may have tragically attacked the wrong Gamboa car wash.
Descent into the abyss
Nayarit, a small, once peaceful state with a population of slightly under one million people, had until recently escaped most of the drug cartel related violence plaguing Mexico.
However, since the death of Arturo Beltran Leyva, the head of the once powerful Beltran Leyva cartel, in December 2009, drug cartel related homicides and insecurity have expanded dramatically as rival criminal groups clash in Nayarit, especially in the capitol of Tepic.
In June of this year Nayarit Governor Ney González Sánchez abruptly ended the school year 15 days early as the safety of students could not be guaranteed in the face of rapidly spiking violence.
There have been approximately 300 deaths associated with organized crime violence
and police actions in Nayarit since the beginning of 2010.
Sources used in this article:
El Sol de Nayarit: