CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico - Gunmen stormed two homes and massacred 13 young people at a birthday party in the latest large-scale attack in this violent border city, even as a new government strategy seeks to restore order with social programs and massive police deployments.
Attackers in two vehicles pulled up to the houses in a Ciudad Juárez neighborhood late Friday and opened fire on about four dozen partygoers gathered to celebrate a teenager's birthday.
The dead were between 13 and 32 years old, including six women and girls, Chihuahua state Attorney General Carlos Salas told reporters at a news conference at the crime scene. The majority of the victims were teenagers or people in their early 20s. Salas said 20 people were wounded, including a 9-year-old boy.
Police found 70 bullet casings from assault weapons typically used by drug gangs whose bloody turf battles have killed more than 2,000 people this year in the city, across from El Paso, Texas. The attackers escaped, Salas said.
The Interior Department condemned the killings in a statement and pledged "to help the efforts of state and local authorities re-establish order in Ciudad Juárez."
Residents of Ciudad Juárez, one of the world's deadliest cities, no longer go out much to celebrate because of a violent turf war between the Sinaloa and Juárez cartels, who frequently attacks their rivals in bars, restaurants, drug rehab centers and other public places. Investigators said the attack was apparently carried out by Juárez cartel gunmen looking to kill allies of the Sinaloa cartel.
But increasingly, even private parties at homes have been attacked, with several such shootings in recent weeks. Some attacks have resulted in apparently innocent people being killed, either because someone else at a gathering was the target or gunmen simply had the wrong address.