FOUR Americans were hurt in an attack at a hotel in Cancun that left two dead on Thursday evening.
The carnage sent tourists scrambling for cover after 15 drug gang gunmen rocked up in ski masks and opened fire on the beach in front of the Azul Beach Resort and the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun.
Local police confirmed today that one American was hospitalized following the shooting, but is currently stable. The other three sustained minor injuries.
Guests rushed to take shelter after being warned there was a "threat to the hotel" at the Mexico resort on Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
One tourist told CNN: "I was by the pool when multiple successive gunshots occurred. It went on for a little while and everyone dove for cover.
"We manned the entrances to the basement and were given metal sticks, even a pedestal bathroom sink, to defend ourselves."
Footage from inside the five-star resort showed terrified guests cowering behind walls, crouched on the floor and hiding in dark rooms.
The hotel had reportedly been hosting a week-long Day of the Dead party for hundreds of LGBTQ+ travelers when the gunmen stormed the beach.
Troy Petenbrink, who was on the trip organized by New York holiday company Vacaya, said it was "chaos" as guests desperately tried to get back to the safety of the hotel.
He told the Metro Weekly: "We had literally just arrived and were walking to the beach when a rain of gunfire happened, and people all started running from the beach and pool area to take cover.
'IT WAS CHAOS'
"It was chaos as people ran from the pool and beach. Many people falling on the wet ground. It was slippery as hell."
The two men killed in the bloodshed were drug dealers, authorities confirmed, and had apparently arrived at the beach earlier in the day – claiming it was now their territory.
About 15 people then showed up at the beach and executed the two rivals, the head prosecutor of Quintana Roo state, Oscar Montes de Oca, said.
The province attorney general said the gunfire erupted during a fight between "antagonistic groups of drug dealers" and one person was arrested.
Eyewitnesses said the men stormed the beach armed with machine guns and opened fire.
Governor Carlos Joaquin said the commando of gunmen wore ski masks and arrived by boat at the beach before fleeing by boat.
Several cartels are fighting for the area's lucrative retail drug trade – including the Jalisco cartel and the gang allied with the Gulf cartel.
Montes de Oca said one of the men targeted in the horror shooting attack ran into one of the hotels before dying. The other was killed on the beach.
Another person was also injured in the gun rampage, although it's not clear whether they were a guest or a member of hotel staff, according to local media.
Andrew Krop, a publicist in Montana whose husband Eric was at the hotel to sing for the LGBTQ+ gathering, told The Sun the shooting took place shortly after 3pm local time.
"They've been staying at the Hyatt Ziva resort in Cancun," he said.
"About a half-hour ago, he called me and said that men had stormed the beach with machine guns and started firing.
"He ran with some friends and is hiding locked in a room right now."
Andrew told the Independent his husband "just tried to stay as quiet as possible".
My initial thought was that you hear of drug cartels kidnapping tourists and holding them for ransom, then killing them anyway.
During the chaos, Eric was able to call Andrew from the hotel room’s phone.
"My initial thought was that you hear of drug cartels kidnapping tourists and holding them for ransom, then killing them anyway, and I was really dreading that that was the case," he said.
Mike Sington, a guest at the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun, said on Twitter: "Guests are telling me they were playing volleyball on the beach, gunman approached firing gun.
"Everyone ran from beach and swimming pools. Staff hustled us into hidden rooms behind the kitchens."
According to local reporters, the Mexican army arrived at the resort moments after the shooting.
A room at the Hyatt Ziva Rivera Cancun resort comes with a $400-a-night price tag.
The shootings are the latest chapter in drug gang violence on Mexico's Caribbean coast.
Rival cartels often kill another gang's street-level dealers in Mexico to get rid of competition and ensure their drugs are sold first.
It's not the first time tourists have been caught in the crossfire of such battles.
The Puerto Morelos shooting comes two weeks after a California travel blogger and a German tourist were killed in a similar shootout in the beach town of Tulum.
Three other foreign tourists were wounded in the rampage at a street-side eatery, near Tulum's main strip, including two German men and a Dutch woman.
The gunfight also apparently broke out between two rival drug gangs in the area, according to prosecutors.
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