Gun­men dressed as mari­achi play­ers kill 5

Shoot­ing at pop­u­lar square in­jures eight, casts pall over In­de­pen­dence Day fes­tiv­i­ties

The Dallas Morning News - - World -

MEX­ICO CITY — Mex­i­cans head­ing into the week­end’s In­de­pen­dence Day cel­e­bra­tions were jolted by a brazen shoot­ing by men dressed as mari­achi musicians who killed five peo­ple and wounded eight in Garibaldi Plaza, an iconic square where the bands ser­e­nade tourists.

The Mex­ico City prose­cu­tors’ of­fice said at least one for­eigner was among those wounded in the at­tack Fri­day night, which lo­cal me­dia said was staged by three gun­men.

The news out­let La Silla Rota cir­cu­lated sur­veil­lance video of sus­pects wear­ing tra­di­tional em­broi­dered jack­ets and pants as they fled on mo­tor­cy­cles.

The shoot­ing cast a bloody pall over In­de­pen­dence Day fes­tiv­i­ties. Many Mex­i­cans wear mari­achi cos­tumes, a sym­bol of national pride, to com­mem­o­rate the launch of the re­volt against Spanish rule on Sept. 16, 1810. It is also the busiest time of year for Garibaldi Plaza, a beloved but seedy square that draws heav­ily on Mex­i­can folk­lore.

Lisa Sanchez, di­rec­tor of Mex­i­cans United Against Delin­quency, de­scribed the shoot­ing as a “pierc­ing por­trait” of Mex­ico. The shoot­ing in a crowded pub­lic square demon­strates that im­punity pre­vails in the coun­try, she said.

Crimes have plagued Garibaldi Plaza for years. Mal­colm X’s grand­son Mal­colm Shabazz was beaten to death out­side a bar there in 2013 af­ter a dis­pute over a bill.

A Mex­i­can se­cu­rity ex­pert, Ale­jan­dro Hope, said the shoot­ing Fri­day ap­peared to be a hit by or­ga­nized crime. Garibaldi Plaza bor­ders the gritty Tepito neigh­bor­hood, home to the Union Tepito gang, which has been ex­tort­ing money from busi­nesses across the cap­i­tal.

Hope said the shoot­ers tar­geted a spe­cific restau­rant on the plaza in what may have been a shake­down for pro­tec­tion money or a hit on ri­vals.

“It was not ran­dom,” he said.

Al­fredo Estrella/Agence France-Presse

Fes­tiv­i­ties at Garibaldi Plaza turned bloody when gun­men dressed as mari­achi musicians shot and killed five peo­ple. The mo­tive wasn’t known, but the plaza bor­ders the gritty Tepito neigh­bor­hood.

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