Six bodies found at Tijuana home

January 19, 2008 7:01:59 AM PST
Officials found six bodies Thursday inside a Tijuana house where gunmen took refuge during a shootout with soldiers and police. Investigators were trying to determine if the bodies belonged to gunmen or kidnaping victims kept at the house, said a spokesman for Baja California state prosecutors who was not authorized to be quoted by name.

Soldiers, state and local police were sent in to help control the three-hour shootout that began when federal agents prepared to raid a house in a Tijuana neighborhood near the U.S. border.

Earlier, Baja California state attorney general Rommel Moreno said in a news release that one assailant was killed and four police wounded in the shootout, that comes amid a surge in violence across the border from San Diego.

Already this week, gunmen shot and killed eight people in Tijuana, including two local police officers, as well as a district commander, his wife and his 12-year-old daughter.

Also Thursday, employees at Tijuana's City Hall and police headquarters were evacuated after receiving death threats over a police radio frequency, said Abraham Sarabia, a spokesman for city police.

Mexico has seen a spike in gang-related killings since the beginning of the year. The Mexican government has described the violence as revenge for President Felipe Calderon's year-old crackdown on organized crime that sent thousands of soldiers and federal police into violence-plagued cities nationwide.

In the central Mexican state of Hidalgo on Wednesday, assailants killed the director of public safety for the town of Tulancingo.

Jose Alvarado was shot more than 20 times, Hidalgo state police director Ahuizotl Figueroa said.