A suspected member of the Mara 18 gang was killed and four other people were badly wounded in a gunbattle outside a stadium near the Guatemalan capital, authorities said.

The shooting erupted as police tried to intercept several Mara 18 members who were in pursuit of people from a rival gang, an interior ministry spokesperson told Efe.

The incident took place Sunday in Santa Catarina Pinula, a town 15 kilometers (9 miles) southeast of Guatemala City.

"The gang members opened fire on the agents, one of whom suffered a serious wound," the spokesperson said.

Three of the Mara 18 suspects were also hit and one of them later died at a hospital in the capital, while an area resident was wounded in the crossfire.

Guatemalan authorities blame the Mara 18 and Mara Salvatrucha gangs for the country's soaring rate of violent crime. EFE