Assailants gunned down a police chief in the central Mexican state of Morelos in an attack at a gas station, the state Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.
Three gunmen riding on a motorcycle shot Juan Manuel Zamudio, police chief of the municipality of Zacatepec, on Monday outside the small Morelos town of Galeana, local media reported.
Zamudio was rushed to a hospital in the nearby town of Jojutla, where he died minutes later of wounds to the face and abdomen, the state AG’s office.
Earlier Monday, seven gunmen were killed in a pre-dawn clash with Mexican federal police near the city of Cuernavaca, Morelos’ capital.
The incident began when subjects traveling in three vehicles ran a police checkpoint on the Mexico City-Cuernavaca highway, prompting the officers to give chase, the state AG’s office said in a statement.
The pursuit ended in the Las Animas housing development in the Cuernavaca suburb of Temixco, where seven suspects died in the ensuing gunbattle.
One police officer was wounded and a suspect who survived the shootout was arrested.
Police confiscated AR-15 and AK-47 assault rifles as well as the three vehicles, the state AG’s office said.
Morelos, which borders the Federal District (Mexico City), has been the scene in recent months of clashes pitting gunslingers from rival criminal gangs.
These latest killings come amid a wave of drug-related violence in Mexico, where 47,515 people were slain between Dec. 1, 2006 – when President Felipe Calderon was inaugurated – and last September in cartel turf wars and the gangs’ clashes with security forces, according to official figures.
Calderon militarized the struggle against the nation’s heavily armed, well-funded drug mobs upon taking office. The strategy has led to the killings and arrests of cartel kingpins, but the country’s murder total has grown every year.
Unofficial tallies published last month by independent daily La Jornada put the drug-war death toll at more than 50,000.