MEXICO CITY (AP) – Heavily armed gunmen attacked and injured the Mexico City police chief in a brutal operation that killed three people, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said on Friday. The chief later tweeted, apparently from the hospital where he was being treated, that the Jalisco New Generation cartel was responsible.
Sheinbaum said at a news conference that the chief of police, Security Secretary Omar García Harfuch, was being treated in a hospital but was out of danger.
She said a 3 1/2 ton truck with gunmen with rifles blocked the chief’s SUV and opened fire.
Two of the dead were part of García’s security detail. The third was a woman who happened to pass by. Sheinbaum said the city’s security cameras recorded the attack.
“This morning we were cowardly attacked by the CJNG,” García tweeted, using the Spanish-language acronym for the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, Mexico’s most violent criminal group.
“Two colleagues and friends of mine died,” García wrote. “I have three gunshot wounds and several pieces of shrapnel. Our country must continue to stand up to cowardly organized crime. We keep working. ‘
A federal official with no authority to speak in public confirmed that it was García’s Twitter account.
The Jalisco New Generation cartel was previously behind brutal attacks, including the downing of a military helicopter. The cartel deals in drugs and operates racketeering and other criminal businesses.
When asked about García’s tweet, Sheinbaum declined to speculate about who was responsible.
Mexico City Attorney General Ernestina Godoy Ramos said on Twitter that there were 12 arrests and that her office was investigating the attack.
Police said in a statement that gunners armed with .50 caliber sniper rifles and grenades exchanged fire with the chief’s security. According to the statement, two police were injured. Harfuch was hospitalized in a stable condition, he said.
The attack took place around 6:30 am on Mexico City’s grand boulevard Paseo de la Reforma, in an area of large houses surrounded by walls and foreign embassies. Photos of the scene showed a bullet-riddled black SUV and a tall construction truck with some guns in the back that apparently hid the shooters from ambush.
The motive or the identity of the attackers was not immediately reported, but a number of organized crime organizations are active in the city.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador offered his support and solidarity to Sheinbaum and the city’s public security forces.
“It undoubtedly has to do with the work he does to ensure peace and tranquility,” said López Obrador.
Mexican Federal Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo, who was traveling with the President, condemned what he called a “cowardly” attack. “It is clear that the work of the (police) has strong criminal interests,” he tweeted.
Earlier this month, a federal judge and his wife were murdered at home by gunmen in the western state of Colima. The judge had handled a number of organized crime cases.
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