It’s not clear how the violence happened, but civilians in southern Mexico took action over the weekend to make sure the government heard their complaints, surrounding a group of officers and leading them to a crime scene where two officers and three civilians were found dead.
The government of the southern state of Guerrero gave a confused account of the events late Sunday. Guerrero has often seen confrontations between drug gangs, police, and local vigilante forces, but it is not clear who carried out the killings.
State prosecutors said several dozen local residents seized 32 state police who responded Sunday to the confrontation in the township of Tecpan and the neighboring community of Petatlan.
The residents complained of police abuses, saying state police “entered their homes with search warrants, beating witnesses.”
Residents then led officials to a police patrol vehicle where the five bodies were found. It is not clear how the bodies got there.
A state official convinced the local residents to release the state police and promised to investigate their complaints. Vigilante groups and police have persistently traded accusations of protecting the drug gangs that are active in the region.
The towns are located near the Pacific coast, between the resorts of Acapulco and Zihuatanejo.