MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexicans heading into the weekend’s Independence Day celebrations were jolted by a brazen shooting by men dressed as mariachi musicians who killed four people and wounded nine in Garibaldi Plaza, an iconic square in the capital where the bands serenade tourists. The Mexico City prosecutors’ office said at least one foreigner was among those wounded in Friday night’s attack, which local media said was staged by three gunmen.
The news outlet La Silla Rota circulated surveillance video of the alleged assailants wearing traditional embroidered jackets and pants as they fled on motorcycles.
The shooting cast a bloody pall over Independence Day festivities. Many Mexicans will wear mariachi costumes, a symbol of national pride, on Saturday night to commemorate the launch of the revolt against Spanish rule on Sept. 16, 1810. It is also the busiest time of year for Garibaldi Plaza, a beloved but seedy square that draws heavily on Mexican folklore.
Lisa Sanchez, director of Mexicans United Against Delinquency, described the shooting as a “piercing portrait” of Mexico. The shooting in a crowded public square demonstrates that impunity prevails in the country, she said.
The prosecutors’ office said investigators were trying to find those responsible for the attack. Few crimes in Mexico are solved.
On Saturday night, President Enrique Pena Nieto is to shout “Viva Mexico” – or “Long Live Mexico” – shortly before midnight from a balcony of the National Palace. Thousands crowd into Mexico City’s central Zocalo square every year to hear the shout, and the celebration usually spills into Garibaldi Plaza.
Business quickly resumed around the square following the shooting. Videos circulating on social media showed musicians in the plaza playing their music around the time of the shooting, without skipping a beat.