Gunmen dressed as mariachi players kill 5
Shooting at popular square injures eight, casts pall over Independence Day festivities
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.
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.