Los Angeles woman, 44, killed by crossfire between two drug gangs in Tulum trends now
The woman, named locally as Niko Honarbakhsh, was shot dead during the ordeal - and prosecutors in Quintana Roo stressed she had no connection to the drug deal.
Another man, who went by the nickname 'Belize,' was also killed during the shooting on Friday just after 6.30pm. The deceased had been at a beach club in the Tulum Hotel Zone - which is a coastline tourist strip filled with upscale clubs and eateries.
Honarbakhsh, 44, was living in Cancun but was originally from California, according to ABC News. Local news site Riviera Maya News also identified her as 'Niko H.'
The woman was watching the sunset alone at the beach club with her dogs, and was just about to get up and pay when she was caught in the crossfire, witnesses said.
Pictured: The coba beach in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The woman, identified as Niko Honarbakhsh, was shot dead during the ordeal - and prosecutors in Quintana Roo stressed she had no connection to the drug deal. The deceased had been at a beach club in the Tulum Hotel Zone - which is a coastline tourist strip filled with upscale clubs and eateries
Onlookers, who say the shooting occurred at the Mia Beach Club, said Honarbakhsh looked 'so happy' with her pets, who were 'chilling out on the sand' all day long.
A couple sitting behind her said they thought the gunshots were fireworks at first - and that everything happened so quickly that didn't even have time to react.
Prosecutors denied reports in local media that the two deceased were a couple, saying a photo of the Belizean man showed him with a completely different woman.
Belize shares a border with Mexico on the Caribbean coast. Tulum is located south of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, closer to Belize.
Prosecutors said the dead man had cocaine and pills in his possession when he was killed, and was believed to be a dealer.
They said the suspects in the shootings had been identified and were being sought.
In their statement, the State Attorney General said that 'the female person who unfortunately lost her life had no connection with the deceased male, identified with the alias 'Belize'.
'Regarding the man 'Belize', he is identified for his probable participation in events possibly constituting drug-related crimes in the form of drug dealing and that he was part of a criminal group that generated violence in the state.
'At the time of the events, the subject had among his belongings transparent bags containing white powder with characteristics typical of cocaine, transparent bags with red and orange pills, as well as a transparent bag containing brown granulated powder.'
The fatal shooting on February 9 occurred in front of horrified holidaymakers.
One person took to TripAdvisor to describe their distress after two people were murdered in front of them. They said the ordeal occurred at Mia Beach Club.
The tourist, from Austin, Texas with the username Justin R, wrote on February 10: 'Is Tulum no longer safe? 2 people murdered in front of me.
'My partner and I were enjoying the sunset on the beach yesterday at Mia Beach Club when all of a sudden some guy with a gun started chasing another man shooting at him while running in the middle of the beach club crowd.
'Some tourist on vacation with her 2 dogs, mere feet away from us was hit by some of the stray bullets and was killed.
Three witnesses online said that the shooting took place at the Mia Beach Club in Tulum. Officials did not name the location
'The gunman had shot the guy he was chasing once and it slowed him down enough that the gunman walked over and shot him a couple more times in the back.
'The gunman just ran north down the beach into the crowd. Security at the Mia had no clue what was going on nor did they check on the 2 people shot.
'It was other beach guests that did. The people that worked there almost acted like it was no big deal, and gave none of us instructions like, get down, get off