20 people shot dead at Mexican cockfighting venue

Gunmen massacred 20 people on Sunday night in a suspected gang attack at a clandestine cockfighting venue in western Mexico, authorities said, in one of the worst mass shootings under the current government. .

The murders took place in Las Tinajas in the state of Michoacan, where the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) is fighting local gangs for control of the drug routes.

“It was a massacre of one group by another,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said at a regular press conference, expressing regret over the deaths.

He blamed the area’s criminal gangs for the killings and said a team was on the way to investigate the crime.

Seventeen of the dead were male and three were female, and officials secured 15 vehicles as part of the investigation, Michoacan state prosecutors said in a statement.

All of the victims had gunshot wounds and the last of them died on the way to hospital, authorities said.

Four people were being treated for injuries.

Homicide trends not improving

Michoacan has long been one of Mexico’s most lawless regions, and last month the United States temporarily suspended shipments of avocados from the state after American inspectors received threats. The suspension was later lifted.

Gang violence was fueling record levels of homicides by the time Obrador took office in late 2018, pledging to bring peace to the country, taking a less confrontational approach to tackling organized crime.

But widespread violence has persisted, and the average annual number of homicides is on track to be the highest of any Mexican administration since modern records began.

Homicides fell nationwide in the first two months of 2022 compared to the same period last year, but they rose in Michoacan, according to official government data.

Las Tinajas is in the municipality of Zinapecuaro, approximately 50 kilometers northeast of the state capital, Morelia.