A CEMETERY TURNED into a battlefield in northern Mexico when gunmen attacked a funeral, prompting mourners to return fire in a shootout that killed nine people and wounded 21, officials said Tuesday.
The gunmen arrived in three SUVs and opened fire at the Times Garden in the city of Torreon on Monday as a band played in honour of a man who was murdered over the weekend, the Coahuila state prosecutor’s office said.
Some of the mourners pulled out guns and fired back.
The military deployed troops from a base near the cemetery but the shooters were able to flee. Local media said five guns were found hidden in graves after the shootout.
The nine dead included a six-year-old girl and one of the musicians. The 21 wounded included four children between the ages of three and 14.
The 27-year-old man who was being buried, Ricardo Valdez, known as El Bebe (Baby), was killed on Saturday inside his luxury car. The shooters left a note on him with a message from drug traffickers.
The state of Coahuila has been the scene of battles between drug trafficking gangs. The Zetas drug cartel has a heavy presence in the the state, which borders Texas.
Gangs have fought in cemeteries before in Mexico’s relentless drug war, which has left more than 60,000 people dead since 2006, when the government deployed troops to break up drug cartels.