MEXICO CITY – Five people died in a shootout between police and gunmen in the Mexican border city of Reynosa, located across the Rio Grande from McAllen, Texas, Tamaulipas state security spokesman Luis Alberto Rodriguez told EFE.
Three gunmen, a police officer and a civilian died in the shootout, which started while state police were on a routine patrol in the border city on Tuesday.
“Upon spotting a group of assailants that was fleeing, the authorities gave chase along the Monterrey highway,” Rodriguez said.
The gunmen stopped outside the Monterrey Children’s Hospital, got out of their SUV and opened fire on the officers, killing one policeman and wounding several others, the Tamaulipas state security spokesman said.
“A person (standing) by a taco stand in the street was also killed in the shootout,” Rodriguez said.
The state security spokesman said the incident on Tuesday was different from the others that have occurred since last week because the other shootouts involved only “members of criminal groups.”
Officials are blaming the wave of violence on a power struggle within the Gulf drug cartel, whose leader, Juan Manuel Loza, died recently in a shootout with marines.
For years, Tamaulipas, located in northeastern Mexico, has been a battleground between the Gulf and Los Zetas drug cartels, and it is regularly among the states with the highest numbers of homicides.
President Enrique Peña Nieto sent additional Federal Police and military personnel to Tamaulipas in May 2014.