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2 shot, killed in attack at Tulum beachfront restaurant

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Art Beach Tulum. Photo: Courtesy

Two men were shot to death and another was injured at an upscale beachfront restaurant in Tulum.

The attack took place at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Art Beach restaurant at the beginning of the hotel zone in Boca Paila. The complex, which has live entertainment and an art gallery, was filled with customers at the time, witnesses said.

According to the local media, gunmen opened fire as the victims entered the front entryway. At least 20 gunshots were heard.

No suspects were named or said to be apprehended.

The shooting arise from a conflict between two criminal gangs, the Quintana Roo prosecutors office said. The suspects possibly ambushed their victims, officials also said.

The attack also indicates that violence is continuing to reach places where high-spending tourists congregate. The Art Beach is one of the most elegant and expensive restaurants in Tulum, with menu items that include caviar, totoaba with green beans and sous vide striped bass.

In October, two foreigners were killed and three other tourists were injured after they were caught in the crossfire of a gang shootout. Afterwards, Mexico stationed 450 armed forces in the trendy resort city, which continues to attract celebrities and expats.

Another 1,500 troops were deployed in November following a shootout near luxury hotels in Puerto Morelos, north of Tulum. 

State police inaugurated a new surveillance center in Cancún several months ago. It is an imposing enclosure half the size of a football field where images from 2,000 security cameras are monitored.

Tulum’s Municipal Police Chief Óscar Alberto Aparicio has been in office for less than a month. Among his first steps has been to install even more cameras, hire more police and raise their salaries by 20%.

Authorities don’t want Tulum to meet the same fate as Playa del Carmen or Acapulco, where drug wars undermined the tourist economy. In the state of Quintana Roo, tourism accounts for 87% of its GDP.

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