TEGUCIGALPA – At least five suspected gang members died in a shootout with police in northern Honduras, authorities said Monday.
The incident occurred Sunday in the Rivera Hernandez sector, near San Pedro Sula, Honduras’ second city.
Officers responded to a telephone call informing them of the kidnapping of four people in a vehicle with the intent of murdering them, regional police chief Victor Gomez told reporters.
Security forces blocked access to the area and shortly thereafter the shootout erupted in which four gang members died on the scene and one expired later in a hospital in San Pedro Sula, Gomez said.
The suspected gang members, upon seeing themselves trapped, abandoned their four captives and the SUV they were traveling in and confronted the police, he added.
Gomez did not identify the dead kidnappers and said that there were no police casualties in the incident.
At the site of the gun battle, security forces seized several weapons, including an AK-47 assault rifle, ammunition and bulletproof vests, according to the official report.
Separately, authorities in northern Honduras seized a truck with a false floor under which two grenade launchers, two AK-47s and 11,200 rounds of ammunition were stashed, arresting two people.
The shipment was intercepted Sunday night near San Pedro Sula, after it left the Caribbean port of Puerto Cortes en route to the western city of Copan, police commander Roman Gomez said.
Two people – the driver of the truck and another man driving a car and in possession of a pistol – were arrested in the operation, Gomez said.
The second man, the police official said, was closely following the truck.
Honduras is experiencing a wave of violence that in 2013 resulted in an average of 17 deaths per day.