Many questions remain unanswered about San Jose de Gracia

SAN JOSE DE GRACIA, MICHOACAN (AP) — The footage of a dozen men executed as they were lined up against a wall by drug cartel gunmen with assault rifles in the town of San Jose de Gracia in the western state of Michoacan was posted on social media, and the horrific scene quickly went around the globe.

The camera cuts away, but how many died in the end?

Prosecutors said Monday that they cannot say how many died, because the attackers cleaned up the scene, washed the sidewalk, and carted away any bodies. Investigators found only a bag full of brains and shell casings at the scene. As if they were the governmental authorities in that town.

The attack Sunday occurred outside a funeral service for the mother of an alleged hitman who had worked for the Jalisco cartel. Jalisco has been fighting long-running, bloody turf battles in Michoacan against rival gangs.

The chief prosecutor of Michoacan state said members of a gang went to the funeral looking for the hitman, who authorities identified only by his first name, Alejandro.

State Prosecutor Adrián López Solís said that the hitman apparently died at the scene and that any other bodies were piled into pickup trucks and carted off by the attackers. Other videos posted on social media showed two or three bodies tossed into a pickup truck.

López Solís said the attack occurred only a few blocks from the town hall, where three local police officers were on duty. He said the police neither went to the scene nor sounded an alarm, contending that “they didn’t have sufficient force” to intervene.

López Solís said state and federal authorities learned about the attack from the social media posts, not from any alert by local police.

Local municipal police corporations in many Mexican small towns are always out-gunned and outnumbered by cartel gunmen.

There have been a string of recent attacks at funerals in Mexico, as cartel gunmen seek to exterminate members of rival gangs who attend the services.

Michoacan State authorities declared that the investigation continues, but absolutely no arrests have been made so far in relation to this terrible crime.



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