Monday, July 19, 2010


Mexican Gunmen open fire at party, killing 17; motive is unclear
 Monday, July 19, 2010 12:00 am
PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Mexico - Gunmen stormed a party in northern Mexico on Sunday and massacred 17 people, authorities said.
The assailants arrived at the gathering in the city of Torreon in several cars and opened fire without saying a word, the Coahuila state Attorney Generals Office said in a statement. At least 18 people were wounded.
Several of the victims were young and some were women, but their identities and ages had not yet been determined.
Television footage showed the patio of the house streaked with bloodstains and white plastic chairs overturned beneath a party tent decorated with pictures of snowmen. Police found more than 120 bullet casings at the scene, most of them from .223-caliber weapons.
Investigators had no suspects or information on a possible motive.
Coahuila is among several northern states that has seen a spike in drug-related violence that authorities attribute to a fight between the Gulf cartel and its former enforcers, known as the Zetas.
In May, gunmen killed eight people at a bar in Torreon. Later that month, a television station and the offices of a local newspaper came under fire.
Across northern Mexico, there have been increasing reports of mass shootings at parties, bars and rehab clinics.
In the worst such massacre this year, gunmen raided a drug-rehab center in the northern city of Chihuahua and killed 19 people last month. In January, gunmen barged into a private party in the border city of Ciudad Juarez and killed 15, many of them high school or university students. Relatives say the January attack was a case of mistaken identity, while state officials claim someone at the party was targeted, although they have not said who it was.
The killings in Torreon came three days after the first successful car bombing by drug cartels, an attack that introduced a new threat to Mexico's raging drug war.
The FBI has sent a small team to the crime scene to offer technical assistance to the Mexican investigators, FBI spokeswoman Andrea Simmons said. She did not immediately offer more details.
Mexican investigators have not said what type of explosive was used.
Bomb suspect tied to airman's slaying
EL PASO - The man Mexican authorities say triggered the deadly car bombing on Thursday in retaliation for his arrest had been charged and then released in the slaying of a U.S. airman last year.
Mexican police said the car bomb, which killed three people and injured 20, was detonated because authorities had arrested Jesus Armando Acosta Guerrero, 35, considered to be a top leader of the Juárez drug cartel.
Authorities said Acosta Guerrero admitted to taking part in the Nov. 4, 2009, shooting at the Amadeus strip club in which six men were killed, including U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. David Booher of Holloman Air Force Base.
It's not known when or why Acosta Guerrero was released from custody.