2 dead after shootout between alleged drug gangs near Cancun resorts

The shooting occurred on a beach in Cancun's hotel zone.

November 5, 2021, 8:50 PM

Two people are dead after a shooting involving alleged drug gangs in a Mexico resort zone Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

The shooting occurred on a beach in Puerto Morelos, south of Cancun, during a confrontation between alleged members of rival groups of drug dealers, according to a statement from the Quintana Roo Attorney General's Office. Two of the alleged gang members died, the office said.

Armed suspects escaped in a stolen motorboat, authorities said.

The stretch of beach is near various popular resorts, and the shooting sent vacationers running to their hotel rooms.

Mexican soldiers walk outside the Hyatt Ziva Riviera hotel in Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo state, Mexico, on Nov. 4, 2021, after a shooting.
Elizabeth Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images

The Attorney General's Office said in a statement that it has initiated the investigation into the incident "where two men lost their lives after being shot by members of a criminal group dedicated to drug dealing and with whom, according to preliminary information, they were having a territorial dispute for the sale of toxic substances."

They said that at 11:30 a.m., a group of four to five people showed up at the beach "and mentioned that they were going to be in charge of the sale of drugs in that area of the beach." Two of them stayed in the area and were not reported to the authorities, the office said.

Then, around 2:10 p.m., "a group of 15 subjects appeared who went directly to the two people who remained in the beach area, capturing one of them, while another ran into a lodging center where he was finally killed, while the other subject was deprived of liberty and then meters away of his life," the office added.

Another person was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Shortly after, investigators went to the scene to collect evidence, the office said. The bodies of the deceased were taken to the Forensic Medical Service, where they are expected to be identified by their relatives.

LGBTQ vacation company VACAYA confirmed to ABC News that an American who was part of its group suffered a gunshot wound during the incident. The victim was welcomed back to the resort Friday to cheers from gathered guests.

An American vacationing in Cancun confirmed to ABC News that he heard shots fired while at the Hyatt Ziva Hotel in Puerto Morelos.

Shortly after 2 p.m. local time, Jim Wildermuth, of Atlanta, said he was at the pool outside his room with other guests when they heard "cracks."

"We kind of looked at each other funny," Wildermuth said.

They then ran up to their rooms and were told to stay there because there was an active shooter on the property, according to Wildermuth, who said he saw military personnel directing people in front of the hotel.

A Hyatt spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News that they are "aware of a developing situation at Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun."

"We understand the hotel team immediately engaged local authorities who are on the scene investigating the situation," the company said, adding that it is "taking steps in an effort to ensure the safety of guests and colleagues."

Guests at the hotel were deemed safe after the shooting, authorities said.

Guests gather in the hotel lobby after a shooting at Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun resort, in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico, Nov. 4, 2021, in this still image obtained from a social media video.
Mike Sington via Reuters

A spokesperson for the Azul Beach Resort Riviera Cancun, which is located near the Hyatt Ziva Cancun, told ABC News it has no comment at this time.

The U.S. State Department is following the incident and "working closely with local authorities to determine if any U.S. citizens were affected," a spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News.

The department is urging U.S. citizens in the area to let loved ones know they are safe.

"If you are in the affected area and need immediate emergency services, please contact local authorities," the spokesperson said.

The shooting comes nearly two weeks after two female tourists were killed during an apparent drug gang shootout in the Mexico resort destination of Tulum. Three tourists were wounded in the Oct. 23 shooting.

ABC News' Conor Finnegan, Jennifer Leong, Josh Margolin and Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.

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