REYNOSA, MEXICO – A man was killed on the street Wednesday in this northern border town that was the scene 24 hours earlier of a bloody battle between soldiers and suspected drug-cartel enforcers, authorities said.
The victim was shot five times as he got out of his vehicle in front of a gym in Reynosa, located just across the border from Hidalgo, Texas.
A prosecutor in the Tamaulipas state Attorney General's Office, Eduardo Saenz Fregoso, said the murder took place around dawn in the Rodriguez neighborhood.
Five people were killed and seven others wounded here Tuesday when soldiers and federal police clashed with heavily armed gunmen thought to be working for drug traffickers.
While all five of the dead were among the suspected cartel hitmen, one of the injured federal agents is in grave condition, Mexico's Public Safety Bureau said.
The battle began, according to the bureau, when gunmen traveling in several SUVs spotted troops and police in the vicinity and opened fire.
Attempting to flee, the gunmen entered a house and made a stand, launching grenades in the course of a two-hour shootout with the security forces. After the shooting stopped, soldiers and police found a mortar, seven grenades and bulletproof vests among the bodies.
Reynosa was one of several border towns where hundreds turned out Tuesday to protest the presence of the army in Mexico's cities and towns, demonstrations that authorities claim were organized and financed by drug cartels.
The Mexican army is leading the war against the country's heavily armed drug-trafficking gangs, taking over from local police who have either been corrupted or intimidated.
Violence unleashed by the nation's warring cartels left around 5,600 dead last year, according to unofficial figures, and the number of victims has increased steadily since President Felipe Calderon began deploying soldiers and federal cops across the country when he took office in December 2006.
Gunbattles between security forces and cartel enforcers have become almost a daily occurrence in some cities. EFE