Eight people died and five were injured in a shooting at a busy nightclub in the town of Jerez, in northern Mexico, police said Sunday.
The incident in Zacatecas state took place late Friday into Saturday when heavily armed men, arriving at the bar in two vehicles, burst in and began shooting indiscriminately, a report from the Security Secretariat said.
Six people died on the spot and two more succumbed while receiving medical attention; five people remained hospitalized on Sunday for gunshot wounds.
Victims included club employees, musicians and customers, local media said. Witnesses said people panicked as the club’s floor became awash in blood.
The bar, called “El Venadito,” is in the center of Jerez, a municipality about 36 miles southwest of the state capital city of Zacatecas.
Jerez has been hit in recent years by a wave of violence that last year forced hundreds of residents of nearby rural communities to leave their homes.
Zacatecas has been the scene of bloody turf battles between the Jalisco and Sinaloa drug cartels. The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration told CBS News that the two cartels are behind the influx of fentanyl in the U.S. that’s killing tens of thousands of Americans.
Zacatecas, which has one of the highest per-capita homicide rates in Mexico, is a key transit point for drugs moving north to the U.S. border, especially the powerful synthetic painkiller fentanyl.
The U.S. State Department includes Zacatecas on its “Do not travel to” advisory for Americans due to ongoing crime and abductions.
“Violent crime, extortion, and gang activity are widespread in Zacatecas state,” the advisory says.
Authorities in Zacatecas confirmed last week that a U.S. resident was among four people killed in the state around Christmas time.
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