Five Dead, 15 Wounded After Gunman Opens Fire At Mexican Nightclub
A lone shooter fired on a crowd at a nightclub in Playa del Carmen, site of the BPM electronic music festival in Mexico early Monday, leaving at least five people dead and at least a dozen more injured, according to a statement released by festival organizers. Local news reports suggest that the shooting came after a ‘disagreement’ and is connected to ongoing drug cartel wars in the area.
The rampage occurred inside the Blue Parrot nighclub in Playa del Carmen at about 2:30 a.m. local time, according to a statement by the attorney general of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.
Playa del Carmen is a popular tourist destination not far from Cancun. Among the dead are four men and a woman. Two of those who died were part of a security team, the statement said. According to preliminary reports, three of the dead are foreigners.
People ducking for cover as security scanned the area following the shooting
Police guard the entrance of the nightclub later Monday morning
According to the Mail, London-based promoter Elrow was hosting a closing ‘This Is The End’ party at the Blue Parrot when the shooting occurred, and it is believed that many attendees at the event were British and American tourists.
Tourists at the scene have revealed the chaos that ensued during the shooting, and how many initially believed that they heard fireworks or music – not gunshots.
The government of the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo, where Playa del Carmen is located, said four men were shot to death and one woman died in a fall during the confusion and stampede that ensued. An additional 15 people were wounded, and one of them was in very serious condition.
“It is with great sadness to share that police have confirmed reports of a lone shooter outside the Blue Parrot nightclub in Playa Del Carmen earlier today, which resulted in four fatalities and twelve injured. The violence began on 12th street in front of the club and three members of the BPM security team were among those whose lives were lost while trying to protect patrons inside the venue.” a statement early Monday by the BPM festival said.
The BPM Festival is an annual 10-day electronic music festival started in 2008. This year, it was scheduled to last from Jan. 6 to Jan. 15. The shooting occurred on the last night of festivities.
The Blue Parrot is one of the venues at the 10-day festival in Playa del Carmen, a tourist destination that has largely been spared the violence that has hit other parts of Mexico. Several festivalgoers took to Twitter to post videos and document the attack as it unfolded.
— kendis gibson (@kendisgibson) January 16, 2017
“The #blueparrot security at #bpmfestival stood up for us when there was gunfire they are the real heroes,” wrote user @DonsLens.
Dubfire wrote that they were in the DJ booth at the time and that it was “total chaos” but that they are “ok.” Adding, “Hope everyone else is…”
DJ Mauro MC posted a video from outside the club after the shooting and said “most of us made it out ok, hurts my heart knowing people didn’t make it safe.”
— MauroMC (@DJMauroMC) January 16, 2017
He added that the shooting occurred inside and not from the beach, which is where the nightclub opens up to.
Rodolfo Del Angel, director of police in the state of Quintana Roo, told the Milenio TV station that he shooting was the result of ‘a disagreement between people inside’ the nightclub and said security guards had come under fire when they tried to contain the dispute.
‘For the moment we have indications that one person opened fire,’ Mayor Torres added. She said the shooting appeared to have taken place inside the club, causing people to flee in panic. Other witnesses said it happened outside the club.
The streets of Playa del Carmen were packed with tourists and festival attendees
after the shooting early Monday morning
Hector Escardo Steck, from Los Angeles, California, told MailOnline that the club was full when the gunman attacked. He said: ‘It was awful, the club was completely full and at around 2am we heard ten successive gunshots and people immediately hit the floor. Just after that the music stopped and everyone started running in a panic.
‘There is a tall fence between the club and the beach and everyone started trying to climb over that. A lot of people got hurt in the attempt top club over, because people were panicking and trying to get away. It was terrifying.
‘I was at the back of the club, so I didn’t see anyone get shot, but 20 minutes later in the streets I saw a lot of dead bodies being guarded by police officers. People were running everywhere, jumping, punching, running. ‘The party had been going since noon, and everyone in the club was either drunk or on drugs, and there was a lot of confusion. ‘In Playa del Carmen you see drugs in quantities that you have never seen before, and everyone is drugged up so it was a very confusing experience that no one was expecting. People were very angry and confused, but mainly angry.’
Local news reports suggest that the incident is connected to ongoing drug cartel wars in the area, and the gunman is believed to still be at large.
Partier George de Menezes told The Independent that he and his friends were just two meters from the gunman when the shooting occurred. He said: ‘No one took it seriously, but I knew straight away that it was a gun and dropped to the floor, then everyone dropped with me. ‘The music stopped and so did the shots, so we got up and one man was down on the floor and looked dead, and another man had been shot but was trying to stay on his feet.’ De Menezes said that people in the club tried to escape by running to the beach, but shots kept being fired
‘Finally got out from there and got up to the Main Street and there was another man dead on the street, so everyone started running for their lives,’ he said. The reveler said that he and friends heard more shots when they finally got back to their hotel.
Los Angeles resident Jake Lubelski wrote on Facebook that he was 20 feet away from the gunman when the shooting took place. ‘I was standing outside of a club on an insanely crowded street when it happened; I was maybe 20 feet away from the shooter,’ he wrote. ‘As soon as I heard gun shots, everyone started bolting and we nearly got trampled by the frantic herds of people.
‘As soon as I turned around the corner and got a look at the scene, I saw a man lying on the floor in his own blood. it could have been me.’
Scottish DJ Jackmaster issued a warning on Twitter saying, ‘Stay in your f*****g hotels’ following the shooting. The DJ, whose real name is Jack Revill, tweeted about the incident just after 3am local time.
‘Someone has come into the club in Playa Del Carmen and opened fire. 4-5 dead and many wounded. Stay in ur f****n hotel if you’re here at BPM,’ he wrote. ‘Apparently now more shots fired at another club in the area.’
A worker at CostaMed hospital in Playa del Carmen told NBC News that a man and a woman were admitted to the hospital at 3.39am local time.
A second shooting was reported at the club The Jungle, where another BPM closing party featuring John Acquaviva, Stacey Pullen and David Berrie was taking place. Videos on Instagram show people running through the streets of Playa Del Carmen following the shooting.
Images shared on social media showed people cowering or running down the street.
Mexican police have confirmed the mass shooting but have not given motive for the gunfire. They have not reported any arrests.
‘We are seeking information from emergency services in Mexico, following reports of a shooting in Playa del Carmen,’ a Foreign Office spokesman said. Neither US nor Canadian officials could immediately confirm if any of their citizens were among the victims in the shooting.