Luis Perez, AP, January 18, 2008
Soldiers, state and local police were sent in to help control the three-hour shootout that began when federal agents prepared to raid a house in a Tijuana neighborhood near the U.S. border.
Earlier, Baja California state attorney general Rommel Moreno said in a news release that one assailant was killed and four police wounded in the shootout, that comes amid a surge in violence across the border from San Diego.
Already this week, gunmen shot and killed eight people in Tijuana, including two local police officers, as well as a district commander, his wife and his 12-year-old daughter.
Mexico has seen a spike in gang-related killings since the beginning of the year. The Mexican government has described the violence as revenge for President Felipe Calderon’s year-old crackdown on organized crime that sent thousands of soldiers and federal police into violence-plagued cities nationwide.
[Editors Note: A video of this shootout is available at YouTube here, accompanied by a Spanish-language narrative.]
A federal police officer has died after participating in Thursday’s raid on a house where authorities found the bodies of six alleged victims of the Arellano Félix drug cartel.
The three-hour gunbattle involved hundreds of federal, state and municipal agents, as well as members of the military. No nearby residents were injured, but a kindergarten and day-care center were evacuated, and neighbors were left shaken.
Three other police officers—two federal and one municipal—were wounded but are expected to live, Pérez said.
The Baja California Attorney General’s Office yesterday issued a statement saying it was continuing to work on identifying the victims, who were found gagged, blindfolded and shot in the head. Some have suggested that the six men may have been kidnapping victims being held for ransom.
Four other men who were captured at the house have been turned over to federal organized-crime investigators. One was a municipal police officer identified as Juan José Díaz. The others are Antonio Martínez Zarzoza, Carlos Alberto Espinoza Vega and Román Gámez Osuna. The latter initially identified himself as a member of the Baja California ministerial police, but that was untrue, authorities said.