At least Five people were killed and some of the 15 people wounded, when an armed man who had been denied entry opened fire at a crowded nightclub in the popular Caribbean tourist destination of Playa del Carmen, Mexico during the BPM electronic dance music festival on early Monday morning.
The shooting occurred inside the Blue Parrot nightclub about 2:30 a.m. local time, where the 10-day BPM electronic music festival was being held and this was the final night of the BPM Festival, an international electronic music event that draws fans from around the world.
At least one teenage girl (she was the only American) crushed in a stampede and fifteen other people were injured in the resulting pandemonium. The other four people who were not Americans, including three members of the security team that had blocked the gunman’s entry, were hit by bullets. Two other injured Americans, one from Texas and the other from New York, were treated and then discharged from a local hospital.
“Five people died, four men and one woman,” the attorney general of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo said on Facebook Monday morning.
Daniel Pessina, from Italy (a BPM staff member) and Canadian Kirk Wilson (a safety supervisor for the festival) were among the dead. Geovanni Francisco Ruiz Murillo, from Mexico, died at a hospital and Rafael Antonio Penaloza, another Mexican, also died in the incident.
According to a representative from the state attorney’s office in Quintana Roo, speaking on condition of anonymity, American Alejandra Margarita Villanueva Ibarra was the fifth victim.
Earlier information from state prosecutor Miguel Angel Pech Cen had indicated two Canadians were among the dead.
‘Everyone started screaming’
“I heard what sounded like firecrackers. Everyone started screaming and running for cover,” said Andrew Badecker, who was outside the Blue Parrot club when the shooting began.
Jake Lubell said he was outside the Blue Parrot when he heard gunshots. “People around me were running. There was a lot of screaming,” he said. “Gunshots went on for roughly 30 seconds.”
— Pipe Llorens (@pipellorens) January 16, 2017
“It is with great sadness to share that police have confirmed reports of a lone shooter outside the Blue Parrot nightclub in Playa Del Carmen earlier today, which resulted in 5 fatalities and 15 injured,” a statement from the BPM Music Festival Facebook page said.
“Three members of the BPM security team were among those whose lives were lost while trying to protect patrons inside the venue,” the statement added.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT (UPDATED*): It is with great sadness to share that police have confirmed reports of a lone shooter…
The American teenager, Alejandra Villanueva Ibarra, 18, died in the pandemonium over the shooter, according to her brother, Robert Aaron Martinez.
“She was a hard worker. She was always looking out for my mom and my little brothers,” the brother said. “She was working and going to college and pretty much the only one helping my mom.”
A Taurus .38 caliber revolver was recovered at the scene by police. A total of 20 bullet shells were found. The BPM festival organisers posted a statement on Facebook saying the attack involved “a lone shooter.”
Authorities interrogating three people
Attorney General Miguel Angel Pech said at a press conference, the gunman has not been captured or identified, they’re still trying to determine who was behind the shooting and why it occurred. Three people were detained for questioning, but it was unclear whether they were involved in the shooting, the state prosecutor said.
“We’re aware of another incident where there was an exchange of gunfire, which occurred near the club, but we are investigating if they are related,” Pech said.