SAN SALVADOR – One person was killed and four others wounded when two suspected gang members shot up a tortilla stand outside the Salvadoran capital, police said Thursday.
They said the attack took place Wednesday night in a rural area of the municipality of Apopa.
The assailants walked into the small shop and opened fire, a police officer told Efe, killing Ernestina Barahona, 58, and leaving four other people wounded, including an 11-year-old boy.
While authorities did not suggest a motive for the attack, protection payments extorted from bus drivers and owners of small businesses represent a major source of income for El Salvador’s fearsome youth gangs.
Small stands selling corn tortillas – a staple of the Salvadoran diet – are common both in poor urban neighborhoods and rural hamlets.
El Salvador has suffered for years from an average of 10-12 murders per day and the rate has surged in recent weeks to 16 homicides a day.
President Mauricio Funes said Wednesday that he may deploy roughly 6,500 soldiers to reinforce police in the country’s most crime-ridden areas. EFE