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Double Attack On Downtown Cancun Bars Leave Two Dead And Eight Injured

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Two Of As Many As Five Cancun Establishments Attacked In One Night

Cancun has found itself drawing international headlines once again after a simultaneous armed attack on downtown bars left two dead and eight injured on Friday. At least two suspects have been arrested.

cancun downtown at night

Several bars in the area have closed indefinitely to protect their establishments and clients from any further attacks.

One of the attacks, which was linked to extortion attempts by organized criminal gangs, took place at Deja Vu bar. The other attack was at a bar named Las Micheladas de la Kabah (formerly Las Micheladas del Tio Tono). Both establishments were located on Kabah Avenue, a popular bar street in Downtown Cancun. The two businesses are located around one and a half miles apart. 

It should be noted that several sources have presented conflicting information in regards to the order of the attacks.

downtown cancun from above

The majority of outlets report Las Micheladas as the first target, with chaos exploding in the bar out of nowhere. A harrowing CCTV video, which the Cancun Sun will not repost due to its disturbing content, sees a security guard at his post when three men are seen exiting a compact car across the road.

The three men quickly approach the bar with firearms drawn, prompting the security guard to seek cover as they open fire. The security guard dives to the floor with his hands over his head as the assailants enter the property. Without hesitation, one of the men shoots the guard in the head at point-blank range, killing him instantly.

police car parked

The three attackers then begin to unload a barrage of bullets upon the establishment. The security footage does not show what the men are aiming at, but debris is seen clouding the feed. As the masked men are shooting, the vehicle they arrived in is seen driving out of view, assuming the complicity of at least one other in the crime.

One other man was injured in the shooting and is reported to be in a stable condition in hospital.

Minutes later, Deja Vu was hit in a similar manner. Reports have been less clear regarding the number of attackers, or if it may have even been the same men, but at least six individuals were injured with one dying of her injuries in hospital over the weekend.

police squad walking in street

Another bar, named La Hija de Su, was also attacked around the same time but no injuries or fatalities were reported. Brief suggestions of arson were all reported on other bars. Just one night previously, another two bars in the downtown area were attacked. Two were injured with no fatalities.

According to El Sol de Mexico, Las Micheladas de la Kabah has been attacked twelve times including the most recent fatal incident. The bar has been burned three times, shot at a further three, and vandalized at least six times by organized crime. The attack on Deja Vu was the second in recent months.

police working a police tape line

The same publication suggested that many bars in the Downtown Cancun area had recently received banner threats from local organized criminals in regards to extortion and protection payments. A similar situation arose in Playa del Carmen just weeks before Friday’s events that led to the death of a British businessman.

Three men have already been detained by the police in relation to Friday’s attacks. One involved a brief police chase and the suspect crashing his car before fleeing inside a supermarket. He was arrested in the store.

cancun policeman on quad bike

Cancun has struggled over the past year with a surge in violence relating to organized crime. Its soaring popularity since the beginning of the pandemic has transformed it into an extremely valuable area for gangs owing to tourists’ propensity to consume drugs while on trips to the region.

With multiple groups vying for territory, the murder rate has soared. Over 130 people have been killed in Quintana Roo since the beginning of the year, propelling it into the top fifty more dangerous cities in the world. Interestingly, its popularity with tourists has not been hampered by the violence and it remains one of the most sought-after destinations on the planet.

police car parked

The strange dichotomy of Cancun means that it remains safe for the vast majority of tourists despite the violence taking place just miles away. Many visitors come back every year and don’t need to be convinced of their safety. Tapping into new markets and convincing those from further afield is a different story, however.

With the pandemic now in its last throes, Europeans may remain closer to home in areas that have no major violent reputation, while Americans may choose a traditionally safer destination in the Caribbean. The government has increased security in the region drastically and is attempting to cut the gangs off at the source by convincing tourists not to partake in drugs as they arrive.

Whether it will have much impact is unclear. But what remains evident is that attacks like this will continue if nothing changes.

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