Gunmen shot and killed eight taxi drivers just outside of the Mexican city of Monterrey on Tuesday, an area that has recently seen an increase in violent crimes due to a turf war between rival cartels.
The taxi drivers, all of which were male, were killed in two separate attacks in the suburb of Guadalupe, located roughly 4 miles from Monterrey’s center.
Jorge Domene Zambrano, a state public security spokesman, told Reuters that four men gunned down five of the eight taxi drivers outside of a taxi office base. The other three were killed a few minutes later, reportedly by the same group.
The fatal attack that left eight taxi drivers dead also reportedly injured three innocent bystanders, including an 8-year-old girl. Reports indicate that the injuries were not fatal.
Police in the region currently have no leads in the case, but Domene told the Associated Press that authorities are looking to question a former employee of the local taxi cab company.
The Associated Press reports:
“[Domene] said the victims were driving taxis without permits. Police are investigating a former driver who became enraged and threatened his co-workers when he was fired for selling drugs.”
Violence in and around Monterrey began to escalate further in the first quarter of the year; Nuevo Leon state, which includes Monterrey, reported a total of 516 homicides in only the first quarter of the year. The figure is up roughly 30 percent from the same time period last year.