An 11-year-old boy was shot dead by gunmen who were out to kill his uncle, who also died in the shooting in Cupey, a district in San Juan, Puerto Rican police said Tuesday.

Christian Nieves Adams was killed Monday night by shots fired by five criminals, Cupey district police director Capt. Rolando Trinidad said.

The gunmen may have been trying to kill the boy's uncle, who has a criminal record for drug trafficking, Trinidad said.

The man, whose name was not released, was pronounced dead from gunshots to the abdomen, head and shoulder at a hospital an hour after the shooting.

The boy, who was shot in the head and left side, died while being transported to a hospital.

The five gunmen burst into the man's apartment and opened fire, hitting the boy.

A total of 931 people have been murdered in Puerto Rico so far this year.

Puerto Rico registered 1,136 murders in 2011, a figure that was up 15 percent from the prior year and was the highest murder total since 1940.

The increase in crime and violence in Puerto Rico is being blamed on drug traffickers, who are increasingly using Caribbean routes to smuggle cocaine into the United States.

Pressure by law enforcement authorities along the U.S.-Mexican border has forced drug gangs to use Caribbean islands, especially Puerto Rico, as transit centers for smuggling narcotics into the United States. EFE