MONTERREY, Mexico – A series of shootouts between suspected gunmen and police in Saltillo, the capital of the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, left three people dead and a fourth person wounded, prosecutors said Sunday.
“The State Attorney General’s Office reports that in the city of Saltillo, Coahuila, on Dec. 24 of this year, a report was received of armed persons aboard a vehicle,” the AG’s office said in a statement.
State police officers intercepted a vehicle carrying three suspected gunmen at the intersection of Nazario Ortiz Garza avenue and Rufino Tamayo street in Saltillo, the AG’s office said.
The occupants opened fire with rifles on the officers, who managed to return fire and kill the gunmen.
A search of the vehicle, which had been reported stolen in the city of San Luis Potosi, turned up three assault rifles, including an AR-15 and two AK-47s, the AG’s office said.
Gunfire was reported later in the day on Christmas Eve near a shopping center and the security forces responded, officials said.
“The soldiers who went to the place seized three vehicles, and a 29-year-old male was wounded in the leg during the incident,” the AG’s office said.
More than a dozen shootouts have occurred in Saltillo this month, with some pitting gunmen against rivals from other gangs and others involving gunmen who engaged the security forces in gunfights.
The rival Los Zetas and Sinaloa cartels have been battling for control of several cities in Coahuila, which has become one of Mexico’s most violent states this year.