Witnesses said the shootout seemed like something straight out of an action movie: heavily armed men swarmed a posh Japanese restaurant, where a former state prosecutor was leaving after a long lunch. Luis Carlos Nájera’s bodyguards returned fire and a gun battle ensued on the streets of a trendy neighborhood in the Mexican city of Guadalajara.
Fifteen people were injured in the attack and subsequent “narcobloqueos” – roadblocks made by torching buses and other vehicles to hamper police operations – left 15 injured. An eight-month-old baby boy died after suffering severe burns in a bus attack; his mother suffered burns to 90% of her body.
Miraculously, Nájera, currently the Jalisco state employment secretary, escaped with an injured hand. He later told a press conference he saw several suspicious characters enter the restaurant and ordered his bodyguards to block the entrance with his bulletproof vehicle. State officials say six suspects were arrested.
Even in a country accustomed to daily tales of crime and violence – each seemingly more spectacular than the last – shaky video footage of the shooting quickly went viral.
Mexico declared war on drug cartels in late 2006 and deployed soldiers to neglected corners of the country to curb their activities. The crackdown has cost more than 200,000 lives, left more than 30,000 people missing and appears to be escalating: Mexico reported 2,720 homicides in April, a 25% increase on the same month in 2017.