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13 people shot dead at Ciudad Juarez party

Fourteen are wounded in a shooting that is reminiscent of a deadly attack on a Juarez teen party in January that shocked the nation. Mexican officials have not cited a possible motive for the shooting.

October 23, 2010|By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Mexico City — Gunmen stormed a party in the border city of Ciudad Juarez and opened fire, killing at least 13 people and wounding 14 others, authorities said Saturday.

The Friday night shooting carried grim echoes of an attack on a Juarez teen party in January that left 15 people dead and raised a national outcry.

In the latest case, authorities said a group of men armed with assault rifles burst into the party, which was being held in two adjacent homes in a neighborhood called Horizontes del Sur.

The attackers opened fire "in an indiscriminate manner," said Carlos Gonzalez, spokesman for the prosecutor's office in the state of Chihuahua. Investigators found signs of more than 70 shots having been fired.

The victims who had been identified were between 16 and 25. A 9-year-old boy was among the wounded.

El Diario de Juarez newspaper reported on its website that one of the party-goers managed to flee, but was chased down and shot dead between a pair of parked cars.

Officials did not immediately offer a possible motive for the attack, the second time in a week that gunmen have fired upon a house party in Juarez. On Oct. 17, seven people were killed when attackers stormed a home near the city's airport.

The state prosecutor, Carlos Manuel Salas, was in Juarez on Saturday to oversee the investigation, his office said.

Ciudad Juarez, a scruffy factory hub across the border from El Paso, has been rocked by drug-related violence for nearly three years, with more than 6,500 people killed, by some unofficial counts.

It was not clear whether the latest killings were related to the feud between drug cartels behind much of the carnage since early 2008. Juarez is also rife with violence between hometown street gangs that have battled over control of local drug sales.

The government of Mexican President Felipe Calderon condemned the attack and said it would lend its help in the state investigation.

Calderon, who launched his government's military-led offensive against drug cartels four years ago, was widely criticized after he initially attributed the January slayings to gang-related vengeance. It turned out that none of the victims, mostly high school and university students, had gang ties.

That incident generated angry denunciations of the escalating chaos in Juarez. In response, the Calderon administration retooled its strategy there to devote more attention to underlying social ills, such as joblessness, poor schools and a lack of safe public spaces.

The program, called Todos Somos Juarez, or "We Are All Juarez," has gained some praise, but many residents say concrete results are slow in coming.

ken.ellingwood@latimes.com

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