2 questioned after gunmen dressed as mariachis kill 5 in Mexico City

Mexico City police are still hunting for a suspected drug gang who came to a small bar at Plaza Garibaldi, above, dressed as traditional mariachi musicians and shot dead five clients before fleeing late on Friday.

On Sunday, police said they were questioning two people without clarifying whether they were suspects or witnesses. Officers are clueless on the motive for the crime which is broadly linked to the turf war between members of two local gangs, La Unión and Anti-Unión over carrying drug business in the borough of Cuauhtémoc.

Among the dead were three men and two women between 22 and 46 years of age. Several others, including a foreigner, were wounded in the shoot-out.

The five suspected La Unión gang members escaped on three motorcycles after committing the crime.

Police recovered some 50 spent bullet casings from the crime scene which, according to city attorney general’s office, has been used by the Anti-Unión to sell and store drugs.

The shooting happened around 10pm as people were having a good time at Plaza Garibaldi, an iconic square known as the home of mariachi music played around the clock for tourists and locals who visit the bars there.

The square was unusually crowded on Friday as people had already started celebrating Mexico’s Independence Day which falls on Sept 16.

The Mexican civil war anthem ‘La Cucaracha’ was being played from a restaurant when gunshots rang out. Many initially thought fireworks had started ahead of national day celebrations. Then people started screaming and running.

The square had been an islet of peace and such violence never happened there before. That the criminals used   Mariachi costume, a symbol of national pride, to disguise themselves came as a big shock to Mexicans.

La Unión members are extorting businesses across Mexico City and gun violence by them has increased in the capital after the arrest of their leader Roberto Moyado Esparza or El Betito last month.

Some 200,000 people had been killed or were missing since December 2006 when Mexico started a crackdown on organised crime. Last year the country saw 25,000 murders.