On Saturday, a devastating shooting occurred at La Palma resort in Cortazar, a municipality in Guanajuato, Mexico. The attack resulted in the death of seven individuals, including a 7-year-old child, according to local authorities.
The assailants, a group of armed gunmen, stormed the resort and targeted vacationers near the swimming pool. The casualties included three women, three men, and a child, with an eighth person suffering serious injuries. The victims’ identities have not been disclosed.
Social media footage depicts police officers arriving at the scene as shocked tourists, still dressed in swimsuits and towels, watch the unfolding events. Some individuals are seen crying and embracing their children. A man recording the aftermath described the attackers as heavily armed sicarios, or hired assassins.
Following the shooting, the gunmen reportedly destroyed the resort’s spa shop and seized security cameras before fleeing. Mexican soldiers and police, assisted by a helicopter, launched a search operation for the perpetrators. Officials from Cortazar municipality in Guanajuato state have not speculated on a potential motive, and no arrests have been made so far.
Guanajuato has long suffered from escalating drug cartel violence, even though it is a significant agricultural and industrial hub within Mexico. The Jalisco New Generation drug cartel has been engaged in a violent conflict with local criminal factions, including the Santa Rosa de Lima cartel, which is allegedly supported by the Sinaloa cartel.
This tragic incident in Guanajuato coincides with the recent murders of four men in the resort city of Cancun at the onset of Easter Week vacation celebrations. Authorities suggested on April 4 that the killings were likely connected to drug gang rivalries, specifically naming drug gang leader Hector Flores Aceves, known as “Pantera” or the Panther.
In light of the escalating gang violence, the U.S. State Department issued a travel alert in March for spring breakers. The warning advised travelers to exercise increased caution, particularly after dark, at Caribbean beach resorts like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.
Additionally, the alert highlighted the risk of U.S. citizens becoming ill or dying due to the consumption of synthetic drugs or tainted prescription pills. This cautionary note followed reports of some Mexican pharmacies offering sedatives and other medications that require prescriptions in the United States without proper authorization.