Two Federal Police officers who opened fire on a group of people, wounding an Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez student, are under investigation, the Mexican Public Safety Secretariat said.
“The commanders assigned to Ciudad Juarez and internal affairs personnel immediately started an investigation to determine what happened,” the secretariat said.
The student was shot near the university’s Biomedical Sciences Institute on Friday night.
“In an effort to determine who is responsible for what happened,” the two officers involved in the shooting and their firearms were handed over to federal prosecutors, the secretariat said.
The student was shot in the back while taking part in a protest against the violence in Ciudad Juarez, a gritty border metropolis that has become Mexico’s murder capital.
The two officers had taken part in a chase and engaged some gunmen wanted for a murder in a shootout when they came upon the group of protesters, the secretariat said.
“Several of them (the protesters) had their faces covered, so for that reason the federal officers got out of their patrol cars and fired some shots in the air as a preventive measure and warning,” the secretariat said.
The officers arrested the suspected gunmen after a chase and seized a pistol “that was utilized to attack the officers,” the Public Safety Secretariat said.
The Federal Police’s victims care unit was ordered to “contact the family of the wounded student to provide all necessary assistance,” the secretariat said.
The Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels, backed by hitmen from local street gangs, have been fighting for control of Ciudad Juarez, located across the border from El Paso, Texas.
The death toll for this year currently stands at more than 2,300 in the border city.
Gunmen killed 14 young people, who ranged in age from 16 to 25, during a birthday party on Oct. 22 in Ciudad Juarez.
Thirteen of the young people were pronounced dead at the scene and another died at a hospital from his wounds.
More than 28,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexico’s drug cartels in late 2006.
Over 7,000 gangland killings have occurred so far this year in Mexico, according to officials, while the death toll for all of 2009 was 7,724.