A war-like battle broke out between cops and suspected cartel gunmen, leaving 14 dead, including four officers, in a small Mexican town that was left riddled with bullet holes, and without explanation.
The shootout erupted around mid-day on Saturday in Villa Union, a town of about 3000 residents, near the US border, and just days after President Donald Trump raised bilateral tensions by saying he would designate the gangs as terrorists.
The government of the northern state of Coahuila said state police confronted a group of heavily armed gunmen riding in pickup trucks through the town which is less than 50 miles from the US border. San Antonio, Texas, to the northeast, is about 3 1/2 hours away.
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Villa Union City Hall is riddle with bullet holes after a gun battle between Mexican security forces and suspected cartel gunmen on Saturday
At least 14 people were killed, four of them police officers, after an armed group in a convoy of trucks stormed the town in Coahuila state, prompting security forces to intervene, state Gov. Miguel Riquelme Solis said
A suspected cartel vehicle is show on the streets of Villa Union after the hour-long shootout
No explanation has been offered for the violence.
Standing outside the Villa Union mayor's bullet-ridden offices, Coahuila Governor Miguel Angel Riquelme told reporters the state had acted 'decisively' to tackle the cartel henchmen, Reuters reports.
Ten of them died in the gunfire. Three of them were shot dead by security forces in pursuit of gang members, said Riquelme.
In addition to the four cops who were killed, six officers were also left injured, the governor said.
The fighting went on for more than an hour.
Bullets began spraying Villa Union when a convoy of vehicles showed up in town, as seen in video clips posted on social media of the battle. Plumes of smoke also could be seen rising above the town.
The hour-long shootout in Villa Union, which only has 3000 residents, happened in a community less than 50