Old West-style shootout

A few nights ago, captain Andy and I were chilling around 11:15 p.m., Andy in the living room watching TV and me in the bedroom reading. Suddenly I heard some very strange sounds. Andy came in the bedroom and said, “Did you hear that? I’m pretty sure it was gunfire.” It was a bit off in the distance, but it sounded like a shootout in the Wild West. Over the course of about 10 minutes, it sounded as if 100 or maybe even more than 200 rounds had been fired, by machine guns. Late in the sequence, we heard one short barrage of gunfire from what sounded like the street behind our backyard.

I was shocked. I was scared. This was the first time we had ever heard gunfire in our safe neighborhood in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. We’re still not fully sure what happened, but from the local news reports we’ve read, it appears as if cartel (ie. gang) members in two cars, after being spotted driving oddly by law enforcement officials, started to trade gunfire with said law enforcement officials — a confusing web of municipal police, state police, federal police and military, all of whom constantly drive around town in military-type Jeep vehicles, some with a mounted machine gun at the ready.

Perhaps the badmen engaged the police; perhaps it was the other way around. We’re not really not sure. But after the shootout, three men were reported dead with four wounded, including a policeman who sustained minor injuries.

I’m upset. I’m perplexed. I’m sad. I’m speechless. What I am not is worried for our overall safety. As it turned out, even though it sounded close at times, the shootout happened a mile from our house in an area where we would not be late at night. It’s not in a bad neighborhood; just a place we wouldn’t be. Still, no matter where it occurred, the shootout was a sad commentary on the state of life in contemporary Mexico, where cartels have too much influence, and politicians have either too little (or are controlled by cartels or corrupted by other influences).

I pray for people’s safety and security. I pray that an increased police and military presence around town keeps Mexicans and tourists safe. I pray that those of you who want to come visit us still want to come, because I remain positive that we and you will be safe. I pray that those of you who are new to Mexico learn to love it as much as we do and that you get to experience true Mexican hospitality and a nation’s zest for living.



6 thoughts on “Old West-style shootout

  1. Wow, Stacey this sounds scary (but not really any worse than any place here in USA). Glad you are safe, and although I have no plans to visit you (wish I did!) this would not change my mind.


  2. I’m so glad you both are safe. Scary stuff. We used to hear gun shots bi-weekly living just north of 8 Mile in Detroit…now out in the semi-country we hear gun shots once a week from a near by hunter who does target practice in his back yard. Still, having cartels shooting out a mile away is scary stuff..is there a big drug trade in Zihua? Hopefully this is a very rare, never gonna happen again around here situation. Love you both!!! xox


  3. Being somebody that loves Mx. as you do, and somebody with a second home in Mx., I completely understand your feelings of disbelief and sadness. When tragedy happens so close to the place you love, you feel a sense of loss and grief. But just as the other commenters said, it happens in every city in the US on a daily basis, just usually “over there” in a part of town law-abiding people never frequent. Don’t let it dampen your spirits. BTW, I was happy to find your blog and appreciate your truth and frankness in writing.


  4. Really glad you and Andy are both safe and that you have a good perspective on the state of violence in this world — note I said world, and not just Mexico, the USA, or (fill in the blank) — violence abounds in all corners but it’s great you continue to live and enjoy your lives, undeterred and not letting fear get the best of you. I enjoy catching up on what you are up to and thoughts and prayers are with you and Andy always. Be safe, have fun!


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