Authorities Suspect That Gang Violence Is Behind The Horrific Fire Bombing Of A Nightclub That Left Dozens Dead
In yet another deadly attack in Mexico, at least 28 people were killed Tuesday night due to a suspected arson attack at a bar in the Mexican state of Veracruz. According to the Washington Post, perpetrators locked the doors and emergency exits of the well-known “White Horse Nightclub” and then promptly set the building on fire with gasoline bombs.
“They arrived in several vehicles, with rifles and pistols. They threatened the security guards at the door and took control of the entrance,” a witness told the AFP.
“The White Horse Nightclub”, a table-dancing bar, is a well-known gathering place in the working-class city of Coatzacoalcos where the main industry has long been oil and oil refining. The deadly inferno ravaged through the bar killing the 28 people and injured more than a dozen others. Images taken in the aftermath of the attack showed the bodies of women burned to death among a charred interior. According to Yahoo News, many of those who perished in the fire were dancers. Videos on social media showed dozens of people grouped together and embracing one another outside the burned down bar.
“My niece starting dancing here a few months ago. She was a single mom, and she wanted to give her daughter a better life and go back to school,” Maria Vazquez, whose 22-year-old niece Sugedy perished in the bar fire, told the AFP.
Law enforcement believes that the deadly fire might have been caused by a gang dispute between rival groups. At this time, there is one main suspect that has been identified.
As of now, law enforcement is following leads that a suspect is a man who had been recently arrested but then subsequently released. Veracruz Gov. Cuitláhuac García said at a news conference that a key suspect has been identified as a man known as “La Loca” but would only call him as Ricardo “N″ due to officials no longer giving the full names of suspects. García says that the man was previously detained back in July but was then let go within 48 hours after being turned over to the state prosecutor’s office.
“The criminals went in, closed the doors, the emergency exits, and set fire to the place,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said at a morning news conference discussing the tragedy. “This is the most inhuman thing possible. It is regrettable that organized crime acts in this manner.”
President Lopez Obrador criticized the state attorney general, Jorge Winckler Ortíz, who was appointed by a previous, rival administration, for having released some of the suspects behind the attack who had previously been in custody this year.
Veracruz has become a central battleground area in the long Mexican drug war that started back in 2006. The area is also considered a hotbed of violence where Mexico’s rival drug cartels have been known to engage in illegal activities. Tuesday’s deadly attack is similar to one that happened back in April on another bar in Veracruz in the city of Minatitlan that killed 13 people.
Tuesday’s attack was one of the worst mass killings since President Lopez Obrador took office in December pledging to help Mexico by battling corruption and inequality in the country. This comes as homicides have reached record highs this year already.
President Lopez Obrador has frequently called for the end of the senseless violence that has plagued the country for the last 15 years. But so far, the number of murders has only continued to rise after hitting record levels in 2018.
Tuesday’s deadly attack adds to the record year of violence in Mexico, which has already registered 14,603 homicides from January through June. The Mexican government under President Obrador has faced challenges in stopping the senseless violence that has taken the lives of thousands of innocent people caught between a deadly drug war.
“The fact that 2019 is on pace to be the most violent year does not come out of nowhere. We have seen how violence has been progressively increasing,” said Francisco Rivas, director-general of the National Citizen Observatory, a research group, told the Washington Post. “The president says we are improving, but we are worse than ever before.”
No arrests have been announced so far in the investigation. The Veracruz public security secretary and the prosecutor’s office are still looking into more leads at this time.