Six gunmen were killed and two Nuevo Leon state police wounded Friday in a shootout in this northern Mexican metropolis, the state Attorney General’s Office said.
The confrontation began around 1:00 a.m. when police on patrol in Monterrey, the state capital, tried to stop an SUV carrying a group of men who were behaving “suspiciously,” the AG’s office said.
Instead of stopping as ordered, the occupants of the SUV opened fire on the police and then fled.
Additional state and federal police units joined the chase, as did army troops deployed in Monterrey for anti-narcotics operations, according to the statement from the Nuevo Leon AG’s office.
By time authorities caught up with the suspects, five accomplices had come to the aid of the men in the SUV and a roughly 10-minute gunbattle ensued.
Six gunmen died in the exchange of shots and two state police officers were wounded. The remaining gunmen escaped.
Media accounts said the confrontation stemmed from an attempted attack on Nuevo Leon Attorney General Adrian de la Garza, but his office denied that version of events.
Recent months have seen more than 50 attacks on law enforcement personnel and infrastructure in Nuevo Leon, which borders Texas. Authorities blame the violence on a fierce turf battle between the Gulf and Los Zetas drug cartels that has raged since March 2010.
Until last year, however, drug-war mayhem was rare in Greater Monterrey, home to more than 4 million people and the headquarters of many of Mexico’s leading corporations.