A deadly shooting between suspected drug dealers on a Mexican beach Thursday afternoon sent locals and tourists scrambling to safety.
Two men were left dead after a confrontation in Bahía Petempich, in Puerto Morelos, resulted in gunfire, state officials said.
Puerto Morelos, a beach community about 25 kilometres south of Cancun, is a popular tourist area for many Canadians and Americans.
Guests staying at the nearby Hyatt Ziva Rivera Cancun told CNN that hotel staff passed out makeshift weapons, encouraging guests to shelter in place after gunshots were heard nearby.
“We manned the entrances to the basement and were given metal sticks, even a pedestal bathroom sink, to defend ourselves,” the guest said.
The Quintana Roo state prosecutor’s office tweeted that the violence was “between antagonistic groups of drug dealers,” but said there were no other injuries reported.
“About 15 people arrived on the beach to assassinate two men who had showed up saying they were the new dealers in the area,” the head prosecutor of Quintana Roo state, Oscar Montes de Oca, told the Radio Formula station.
One senior state official said a group of gunmen arrived by boat in pursuit of the men who were slain, in what another Mexican official said appeared to have been a targeted “execution.”
NBC executive Mike Sington was staying at the Hyatt at the time of the incident and live-tweeted the chaos as it unfolded.
“All guests and employees told to duck, and we’re all taken to hiding places at Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun Resort. Active shooter? Terrorist or kidnapping threat? They’re not telling us anything,” he tweeted, alongside photos and videos of the hotel guests returning to the hotel to hide.
Sington later tweeted that guests were taken out of hiding and brought to the lobby, where they cried and hugged each other.
Mexican security forces were sent in to reinforce Tulum, a popular resort about 130 kilometres from Cancun, after two foreign tourists were killed and others wounded last month during a shootout between suspected gang members.
–With files from Reuters