CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico (AP) — Residents of the northern Mexico border city of Matamoros were recovering Saturday from a night of terror in which raging gunbattles left civilians diving for cover.
The government of the border state of Tamaulipas said three gunmen, including a leader of the Gulf Cartel, were killed in the firefights with police.
A female municipal employee who was apparently caught in the crossfire during the Friday night shootout also died, and two civilians and two suspects were wounded.
The drug gang gunmen opened fire after police and soldiers tried to stop one of their vehicles. Police found a bulletproof vehicle along with a .50-caliber sniper rifle at the scene of the shooting, which spread along the city's boulevards.
A total of four suspected gunmen were arrested in Matamoros, located across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas.
During the running gunbattles, gang members hijacked vehicles and set some afire to block roads. Roadblocks were reported at 15 points throughout the city.
Patrons of restaurants and shopping malls posted videos on social media of people diving for cover on floors and behind walls.
Tamaulipas state officials said the dead gang leader was Ariel Treviño, alias “El Tigre,” who headed a feared group of Gulf Cartel gunmen known as The Scorpions. The government said Treviño served as head of the cartel's lookouts and headed up their operations in various smaller border communities in the area.
Factions of the Gulf Cartel have attacked police and each other for years in and around Matamoros and the neighboring city of Reynosa.