Beachgoers scramble into hotel for cover after two people were executed on Cancun beach

Gunfire raged on a picturesque Cancun, Mexico beach Thursday that left two people dead in what authorities suspect was a gang-style assassination, leaving shocked tourists scrambling for cover in hotels nearby.

“I’ve never been so scared, literally shaking,” said tourist Mike Sington, who is staying at the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun, on Twitter. “I’m fine now, barricaded in my hotel room for the night, just trying to decompress.”

“In hiding in the dark now. Was told active shooter on property,” Sington also noted. “Paramedics are here.”

Gunmen motored up to the beach, Bahia Petempich in Puerto Morelos, and then began looking for the two people they were targeting, according to Reuters, which quoted a senior official. Another state official told the news agency as well that the killings appear not to have been random.

“Video shared on social media showed tourists scrambling for cover in a Cancun resort during Thursday’s face-off between warring gangsters,” Newsweek added. The outlet said that one person was wounded but it wasn’t clear if that person was a tourist or a hotel employee.

Officials added that it appears as though the shootings were linked to an ongoing turf war between rival cartels. The two people who were murdered on the beach arrived in front of the Azul Beach Resort and the Hyatt Ziva Riviera earlier in the day and claimed the region was now their territory.

“About 15 people arrived on the beach to assassinate two men who had showed up saying they were the new dealers in the area,” Oscar Montes de Oca, the head prosecutor of Quintana Roo state, told the Radio Formula station.

The outlet later reported that a group of at least 10 people was arrested in Cancun later on, “possibly in connection with the case.”

Another tourist, Andrew Krop, whose husband was performing at the resort for the Vacaya gay vacation group, said his spouse heard gunshots before barricading himself in a room for close to an hour. Eventually, guests were taken to the lobby of the hotel and told they were out of danger.

Former Mexican Senator Claudia Anaya compared the incident experienced by the tourists to a “horror movie,” adding that Mexico’s violence no longer takes place just on the streets.

“Today, from a horror movie what tourists have experienced in an exclusive hotel in #Cancun,” she wrote in Spanish on Twitter. “Do you think tourists want to keep coming to share our tragedy?”

Quintana Roo Governor Carlos Manuel Joaquin González noted in a statement that the incident was “a strong blow to the development of the state,” according to Radio Formula.

Continuing, González  said the incident “hurts our society” and added that “we will continue investigating together with the federal forces until we find those responsible.”

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico issued a statement regarding the shootings.

“We advise U.S. citizens in the area to contact concerned family and/or friends to let them know they are safe,” it said.

Last month, Mexican security personnel were sent to Tulum, a popular resort spot some 80 miles from Cancun, to reinforce local police after two foreign tourists were killed and several others wounded during a gun battle between suspected rival cartel members.


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Jon Dougherty


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