Mexicans heading into Independence Day celebrations have been jolted by a brazen shooting that left four dead and nine wounded in Garibaldi Plaza, a famous square where mariachi musicians serenade tourists.
The Mexico City prosecutors’ office said that at least one foreigner was among the wounded.
Mexican news outlet La Silla Rota circulated surveillance video of the alleged assailants dressed in the traditional mariachi garb of short embroidered jackets and pants, fleeing the scene on motorcycles.
The shooting cast a bloody pall over Independence Day festivities. Many Mexicans wear mariachi costumes Saturday evening to commemorate the launch of the revolt against Spanish rule on September 16, 1810.
Lisa Sanchez, director of Mexicans United Against Delinquency, described the shooting as a “piercing portrait” of Mexico.
She said the fact that the murder took place in a crowded public square demonstrates that impunity prevails in the country.
On Saturday, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto is set to shout “Viva Mexico”_or “Long Live Mexico”_shortly before midnight from a balcony of the National Palace. Thousands crowd into Mexico City’s central Zocalo square every year to hear the shout, and the celebration usually spills into Garibaldi Plaza.
Videos circulating on social media showed musicians in the plaza continuing to play music during and after the shooting Friday night.
In one video, a man plucking a large harp continues to belt out the Mexican civil war anthem “La Cucaracha” as dozens of gunshots pierce the night.
In another, brass instruments and melancholic voices fill the air as the flashing lights of police vehicles descend on the plaza.