A four-hour shootout late Saturday claimed 18 people — including two soldiers — in the popular resort town of Acapulco, leaving tourists in nearby hotels shaken and scared. The bloody battle was ignited Saturday evening after Mexican soldiers responded to an anonymous tip about a group of armed men gathered around a mansion along Avenida Rancho Grande, a particularly dangerous street that splits low and high- income neighborhoods.
Upon arrival soldiers were met with gunfire, grenades and heavily armed men. A four-hour shootout ensued, killing 18 and wounding nine soldiers. Over 3,000 shots were fired, and authorities seized a massive mix of weaponry, which included over 40 guns, several grenade launchers and thousands of various caliber ammunition. Several high class cars were also confiscated, including a Mercedes Benz. Inside soldiers found four men, reportedly Guerrero state police officers, bound and without shirts. Although authorities have yet to identify the gunmen, the sophisticated weaponry and expensive cars parallel drug cartels. However, no drugs were found at the scene.
Acapulco has long been a tourist hotspot in Mexico for both local and international travelers. Despite a slight decline in travel due to its urbanization in recent years, Acapulco still ranks alongside Cancun and Mazatlan for most popular Mexican destinations. Tourism in Mexico has already suffered this year due to its swine-flu outbreak.
Rachel Anderson is a staff writer/editor for VIVA Travel Guides.