Two Nuevo Leon state police officers, who had worked for several years as guards escorting U.S. Consulate diplomats in Monterrey, were killed while off duty.
El Norte reported the two officers were gunned down on Friday afternoon while driving down Morones Prieto Avenue in the Monterrey suburb of Guadalupe. The area has been the scene of frequent drug-gang related executions and several police killings.
Officer Rolando Ábrego González, de 37, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crime and Officer Arturo Gerardo Zavala Ramos, 39, was rescued alive but died later in a nearby local hospital. The dual execution was reported around 4:10 p.m.
"We have been informed of the death of two officers who had finished their shift, members of the State Police of Nuevo Leon, who for years had worked with U.S. diplomats in Monterrey," Brian Quigley, spokesman for the consulate.
We all knew them, they were great guys and we are deeply saddened by their deaths. It is too early to comment on the circumstances of their killing, but we are working with Mexican authorities.
"We deeply regret the loss of their lives. On behalf of the Consulate community and all employees, we express our condolences to the families of the victims of this tragedy," said Quigley.
Monterrey, once considered one of Latin America's safest and most prosperous cities, has seen a dramatic spike in violence since last year, when a split between two local drug cartels turned to all-out war.
The U.S. Consulate in Monterrey suffered it's first attack on October 12, 2008, when unknown persons fired weapons and threw a grenade against the front of the building .
On March 20, 2009 the Mexican Army captured Sigifredo "El Canicon" Nájera Talamantes, who was identified as directly responsible for the grenade attack at the consulate.
Last August, the U.S. government obligated staff to remove their minor children from the city after an attack outside an elite private school.
Sources: Grupo Reforma, El Universal