Shooting kills 8 revelers in Mexican coastal town

By RICARDO GONZALEZ, The Associated Press
2:25 p.m. August 30, 2009

CULIACAN, Sinaloa — Gunmen opened fire on a crowd of young people partying at a seaside boulevard in northwestern Mexico, killing eight people, an official said Sunday.

A 15-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl were among the victims of the shooting Saturday night in Navolato, a Pacific coast town in Sinaloa state, said Martin Robles, a spokesman for the state prosecutor's office. Another was the 20-year-old daughter of a local policeman.

Police had no information on a possible motive. Sinaloa, the cradle of at least two of Mexico's main drug cartels, has long been a hotspot for gang violence.

Robles said the unknown assailants fired at the crowd with AK-47 rifles as they drove by the festive crowd. Four people were wounded. The seaside boulevard is a popular weekend gathering place for young people in Navolato, which is just outside of the Sinaloan capital of Culiacan.

Gang violence has claimed at least 13,500 lives since President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006 and sent tens of thousands of troops and federal police to battle cartels across Mexico. The government attributes most of the deaths to violence between rival gangs, although cartels have also stepped up attacks on police and other officials.

Civilians often get caught in the crossfire. In the most violent cities, gangs have frequently opened fire on nighttime crowds, mostly in clubs and bars.
Meanwhile, authorities arrested four men accused of killing at least 211 people for the Juarez cartel. Most of the killings took place in Ciudad Juarez, a city across the border from El Paso, Texas, according to a statement from the joint military and police force in charge of security in the city. Authorities did not give a timeframe for the killings.

The four men allegedly belong to La Linea, a gang of hit men for the Juarez cartel, the statement said. One of the men alone is accused of killing 87 people.

Authorities caught the men based on information from seven suspects arrested last week for allegedly killing a total of 39 people, the statement said.

Ciudad Juarez is Mexico's most violent city, with more than 1,400 people killed this year alone despite the presence of thousands of soldiers and federal police. The vast majority of homicides are unresolved. ... dex=157801