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Drug cartel commandos storm Cancun beach, gun down two rivals as terrified tourist captures scene

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The belief that Mexico is little more than a narco-state being run in large part by ruthless drug cartels that are almost as powerful and well-armed as the military was given added life this week when gunfire erupted on the beach in Cancun, Mexico, sending panicked tourists fleeing for safety.

In an incident that took place on Thursday, two suspected gang members were killed at the popular tourist destination when assassins stormed the beach from the sea. The gunmen arrived by boat and began searching out their intended targets, a senior state official told Reuters. The assault was a targeted execution, another official told the news agency.

Mike Sington, an apparent guest at the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun, posted a series of videos and other tweets online, detailing the dramatic scene: “I’ve never been so scared, literally shaking.”

“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, adding, “Active shooter on property at Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun Resort. All guests and employees are hiding. Paramedics have arrived.”

The next video Sington shared was from a darkened room, where a number of people were seen standing around while others sat.

“Still hiding in a dark room deep in the hotel,” he tweeted. “Other guests told me they heard gunfire. Resort is secluded, was told gunman came up from the beach. Hotel employees hugging each other.”

The next video captured people in the hotel lobby, as Sington explained that they had just come out of hiding.

“All guests and employees taken out of hiding now and brought to lobby. Active shooter at Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun Resort. Still no update from hotel. People are hugging each other and crying,” he explained. “Guests are telling me they were playing volleyball on the beach, gunman approached firing gun. Everyone ran from beach and swimming pools. Staff hustled us into hidden rooms behind the kitchens.”

Sington said in the next video shared that all guests were “confined” to the lobby.

Hotel management was seen in yet another video assuring guests that they are safe, with a woman telling them that a suspect(s) “has been apprehended.”

The shooting appears to the result of some kind of turf war, according to Fox News, which reported that the two individuals killed “had apparently arrived at the beach in front of the Azul Beach Resort and the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun earlier in the day, claiming it was now their territory.”

The article cited Oscar Montes de Oca, the head prosecutor of Quintana Roo state, who told Radio Formula: “About 15 people arrived on the beach to assassinate two men who had showed up saying they were the new dealers in the area.”

After tweeting that guests were being “escorted back to rooms now in small groups based on building number,” Sington said, “Told to shelter in the room now and lock and barricade the door.”

He also shared this photo from inside his room:

Sington concluded his reporting on events with this: “I want to thank all of you who reached out to me with such kindness & words of support during the most harrowing hours of my life. I’m fine now, barricaded in my hotel room for the night, just trying to decompress. I’ll be back to my regular Twitter feed tomorrow, with an update.”

Tom Tillison

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