It was a chaotic scene in Cancun Tuesday as gunmen on jet skis began shooting on a beach in the coastal resort town’s hotel zone, sending tourists scrambling for safety. KTLA5 reports that people who witnessed the incident said the two or three shooters appeared to be shooting into the air rather than at anyone in particular.
Rick Lebassa, a tourist visiting from Maine, said, “There were two guys and maybe even a third, who came in on jet skis, and what I saw was them shooting up into the sky. I did not see any shots coming in toward the shoreline.”
No one was injured, and, according to Quintana Roo’s chief of police, Lucio Hernández Gutiérrez, the jet skis have been found and seized.
The incident is one of several violent incidents that have plagued Mexican tourist cities as of late. Just over a month ago, gang members opened fire on a beach in Puerto Morelos, killing two drug dealers from a rival gang.
State authorities declared the incident “a clash between rival groups of drug dealers on a beach” as multiple drug cartels, including the Jalisco cartel and another allying with the Gulf cartel, battle over control of the area’s drug trade.
The killings in Puerto Morelos occurred two weeks after two tourists were killed in another drug and gang-related shootout in Tulum in late October. Anjali Ryot, a travel blogger from San Jose, California, and Jennifer Henzold of Germany were caught in the crossfire and died as a result. Three other tourists were also injured in the shootout.
Just recently, the Mexican National Guard was sent in to protect and secure the areas of Cancun, Tulum, and Riviera Maya. After Tuesday’s jet ski shooting, additional troops consisting of armed marine soldiers were observed patrolling Cancun’s beaches.
As the reputation of Mexico’s Caribbean coast continues to suffer due to violent incidents such as these, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his administration look hopefully to the future. Plans include the addition of an international airport and added train stop in Maya Riviera. However, many wonder if and how these additions might aid the region in returning to its former glory.