The police chief of Choix, a city in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa, has died after being shot by gunmen at the start of the weekend, municipal officials said.

Hector Echavarria died at a hospital in the city of Ahome on Saturday, a day after he was shot at an event in Choix to mark Police Day.

Choix Mayor Juan Carlos Estrada managed to emerge from the attack unscathed.

About 50 people have been murdered in the past three months in the Choix mountains, where rival cartels have been battling each other for control of the area.

Sinaloa is currently the scene of a bloody turf war among several cartels.

The state is home to the drug cartel led by Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman, who was arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and pulled off a Hollywood-style jailbreak when he escaped from the Puente Grande maximum-security prison in the western state of Jalisco on Jan. 19, 2001.

The Sinaloa organization, sometimes referred to by officials as the Pacific cartel, is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico and Guzman, considered extremely violent, is one of the most-wanted criminals in Mexico and the United States, where the Drug Enforcement Administration has offered a reward of $5 million for him. EFE