Gunmen wearing mariachi garb kill 4, wound 9 in Mexico City

Blanche Robertson
September 16, 2018

Mexicans heading into Independence Day celebrations have been jolted by a brazen shooting that left four dead and nine wounded in Garibaldi Plaza, a famous square where mariachi musicians serenade tourists.

The shootings happened just as the Mexican capital was kicking off independence day weekend celebrations. Many Mexicans wear mariachi costumes Saturday evening to commemorate the launch of the revolt against Spanish rule on September 16, 1810. The shooting in a crowded public square demonstrates that impunity prevails in the country, she said.

Investigators recovered 60 empty bullet casings at the scene, and the city prosecutor's office has suggested the shooting was a targeted hit on an individual.

After years of keeping a lid on the worst violent crime that has plagued Mexico, its capital has seen homicides surge since 2014 to record levels, presenting a major challenge to an incoming city government that has vowed a clean-up.

On Saturday, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto is set to shout "Viva Mexico " _or "Long Live Mexico " _shortly before midnight from a balcony of the National Palace.

Business quickly resumed around the square following the shooting.

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A video posted online shows a musician at a Plaza Garibaldi eatery strumming Mexican tune "La Cucaracha" on a harp without pausing for a moment as multiple shots rang out nearby. Patrons continued to down tequilas and tuck into tacos.

"We haven't had any reservations cancelled and we continue to book tables", he said, asking that his name not be published for fear of retaliation by criminal groups.

Plaza Garibaldi borders one of Mexico City's most notorious neighborhoods, Tepito, home to La Union gang police say is behind a spurt in drug-dealing and protection rackets.

In 2013, USA civil rights leader Malcolm X's grandson, Malcolm Shabazz, was beaten to death near the square after a dispute over a nightclub bill.

Tepito has suffered a wave of violence over the last month after the gang's presumed leader, Roberto Moyado Esparza - or El Betito - was arrested.

Officials in the Mexican capital have blamed the rise in crime on drug dealing and protection rackets, while the government claims that at least one of the city's violent gangs is connected to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

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