State and federal police agents have been called in to increase vigilance in the Chapala area following a series of shooting incidents this week that caused three confirmed fatalities and injuries to five others.
The wave of violence bearing the hallmarks of a turf war between rival criminal gangs started Monday, February 11, with two separate attacks between 8 and 9 p.m. in Chapala’s Plaza del Toro neighborhood.
Armed men burst into a home where they shot and killed an adult male of unspecified age. An adolescent girl inside the house was grazed by flying bullets. Minutes later, masked gunmen opened fire at a nearby taco stand, killing two men and injuring a female bystander. Both the girl and the woman reportedly survived their wounds. The assassins escaped without detection.
On Wednesday, February 13, a 54-year-old man was shot and gravely wounded around 4:30 p.m. in Santa Cruz de la Soleded. Shortly afterwards, gunfire burst out on Ajijic’s Calle Aldama near the corner of Guadalupe Victoria, a block below the Pemex station, hitting one man, 23, and another, 52, who were standing there.
All three victims were taken by ambulance to be stabilized locally prior to transfer Guadalajara for advanced treatment. At press time they reportedly remained under hospital care in serious to critical condition.
Late Wednesday night, Chapala Mayor Moisés Anaya issued a statement by live broadcast on his personal Facebook page. He announced that he had requested assistance from state and federal authorities to beef up police patrols throughout the municipality. Convoys were promptly dispatched to keep close watch on the community.
Anaya urged the public to maintain calm and collaborate with the authorities by reporting suspected criminal activity and sharing information useful to investigators.
While the local government has not revealed motives for the shootings, local observers speculate that they are related to the drug trade. A number of other homicides that have occurred in Chapala and Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos over recent months and weeks appear to be tied to organized crime.