Mexico City – A total of 28 men were killed and four others were wounded in a gun battle between members of rival gangs in the western Mexican town of Ruiz, the deadliest of several violent incidents in recent hours in different parts of the country.
The Attorney General's office in Nayarit state, where Ruiz is located, said in a statement that the clash took place Wednesday at an intersection.
Authorities arrived at the scene after learning of the turf battle and found 10 abandoned vehicles, 28 men lying dead and four others wounded, as well as high-caliber weapons.
Their investigation began after authorities received a call about a man having been kidnapped by individuals traveling in three vehicles.
That incident occurred in the town of Tuxpan but the kidnappers later fled toward Ruiz, where they became engaged in the gun battle with the members of the rival gang.
The Nayarit AG's office did not provide more details nor speculate about which gangs may have been involved in the clash.
Nayarit is believed to have a strong presence of the Sinaloa drug cartel, which is led by Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman - Mexico's most-wanted fugitive - and is locked in turf battles with other criminal gangs.
Elsewhere, six suspected cartel gunmen were killed and four members of one family were injured Wednesday during a gun battle between criminals and soldiers in the metropolitan area of Monterrey, the largest city in northern Mexico, officials said.
Jorge Domene, security spokesman in Nuevo Leon state, said the clash between the gunmen and members of the military occurred on the streets of the Monterrey suburb of Guadalupe.
Domene added that the soldiers who were patrolling the area came across a group of armed men traveling in an SUV who fired at the soldiers while fleeing.
In their attempt to escape, they crashed into another vehicle carrying a couple with two young children, Domene said, adding that all four family members were injured but none seriously.
The pursuit of the suspects ended when their SUV crashed into a tree, killing all six men.
Hours earlier, members of organized crime left a woman's head in a taxi that was parked outside a garage that repairs police cars in Guadalupe. It marked the third time in a week that dismembered bodies have been found with threatening messages directed at municipal authorities.
Meanwhile, four people were killed in recent hours in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, including a high-ranking Ciudad Juarez police officer, officials said Wednesday.
Lt. Jose Manuel Rivas, who had been named coordinator of the municipal police force's Benito Juarez station a week ago, was killed Wednesday by at least two suspected hit men inside his home.
Also in Ciudad Juarez, considered Mexico's most violent city, another man was killed when a group of assailants opened fire at him while he was taking English classes at a small school.
In Chihuahua, capital of the like-named state, a mother and daughter were killed by suspected cartel hit men who arrived at their home in two SUVs, police spokespersons said.
A dismembered body also was found outside a private university in that city, the state Attorney General's Office said in a press release.
Chihuahua is the state most affected by the wave of violence battering Mexico, accounting for 30 percent of the roughly 40,000 drug-related murders since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon took office and militarized the struggle against organized crime.
In yet another violent incident in the past 36 hours, several armed men entered a hospital Tuesday night in the western town of Atotonilco, Jalisco state, and killed three people, including a woman who had just given birth.