Guardian News and Media/London
At least five people have died and 15 others have been injured after a shooting outside a club on the last night of the BPM electronic music festival in Mexico.
The shooting occurred in the early hours of yesterday morning outside the Blue Parrot nightclub in Playa del Carmen, said Rodolfo Del Angel, police director in Quintana Roo state.
Del Angel told the Milenio TV station that the shooting was the result of “a disagreement between people inside” the nightclub, and that security guards had come under fire when they tried to contain the dispute.
State officials gave the death toll and said two Canadians, one Italian and one Colombian person “all BPM employees” were among the dead.
They did not confirm reports in local media that attributed the attack to a drug dealing dispute.
In a statement BPM said members of its security team were killed and that the incident involved a lone gunman.
The Blue Parrot was hosting a closing party for the 10-day music festival, which is popular with foreign tourists, when the shooting happened.
Glasgow-based DJ Jackmaster tweeted about the incident as the first reports emerged.
Video footage showed dozens of people fleeing the scene in panic. In one, shouts of “he’s got a gun” can be heard.
A BPM statement published on Facebook said: “We are overcome with grief over this senseless act of violence and we are co-operating fully with local law enforcement and government officials as they continue their investigation.”
The UK Foreign Office said embassy staff in Mexico were urgently looking into the situation. It said any Britons caught up in the incident should follow the advice of local authorities.
The Foreign Office issued advice including a telephone number for anyone worried about friends or family members in Mexico.
Valerie Lee, Mixmag’s US digital editor, who was at Blue Parrot when the shooting happened, described what she saw. “We were there for maybe 20 minutes when we heard four to five shots,” she told the Guardian. “Everyone was kind of processing it for a second then people starting running away from the main entrance towards the back.
“There is a large cement wall so we kind of crouched underneath waiting to see what was happening. People started saying it was just fireworks. But shortly after other people came running through the area and said they had seen someone with a gun.”
Lee said after crouching under a metal table behind the wall for up to five more minutes she fled out of the back of the club into the street, where people were crying.
“We later talked to a friend who had been outside when it happened. He said he was 20 feet away from the shooter and that he saw five bodies on the ground before he ran away. The shooters didn’t seem to enter the club, they just kind of shot towards the front entrance and did not get in. People seem to be saying shooters but I’m not positive (how many there were).”
Another witness, who gave her name as Angel, told Dazed magazine: “We heard what appeared to be gunshots, but a worker told us to calm down, (saying) it was just fireworks. People started getting up and again the shots started. My friends saw the shooter running across the back of the club, shooting into it through a metal rail. One of my friends saw a person shot and bleeding.
“Once the shooting stopped, we jumped over that same fence and ran on the beach about 10 blocks. We were helped by some other partygoers by letting us hang out in their hotel for a few minutes. They saw a guy shot in the head.”
The shooting will be a blow to Mexico’s tourist industry. The BPM festival, which was celebrating its 10th year, has grown to become one of the most important electronic events in the festival calendar, attracting top DJs from around the world.
Quintana Roo and the surrounding Yucatan peninsula have traditionally been less violent than other parts of Mexico, with relatively low murder rates.
However, the presence of foreign tourists and a vibrant nightlife scene means there has long been an important local drug market in and around Playa Del Carmen.
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