Gunmen dressed as mariachi band shoot dead five people in Mexico City

Reuters

Reuters

Mexican authorities say five people have been killed and nine wounded in a shooting at the capital's emblematic plaza.

Investigators recovered 60 empty bullet casings at the scene, and the city prosecutor's office has suggested the shooting was a targeted hit on an individual.

The shooting took place as crowds kicked off Mexico's Independence Day celebrations on Friday and during a busy night at Plaza Garibaldi, a popular square where mariachis play around the clock for tourists and locals. Many Mexicans wear mariachi costumes Saturday evening to commemorate the launch of the revolt against Spanish rule on September 16, 1810.

Mexican news outlet La Silla Rota circulated surveillance video of the alleged assailants dressed in the traditional mariachi garb of short embroidered jackets and trousers, fleeing the scene on motorcycles.

The music and partying continued until after the city's chief of public security, Raymundo Collins, showed up at the crime scene, video footage broadcast on TV showed.

The capital is on track to register a record number of homicides this year, and reversing that trend is part of incoming President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's enormous challenge to stem crime and violence nationwide.

In one video, a man plucking a large harp continues to belt out the Mexican civil war anthem "La Cucaracha" as dozens of gunshots can be heard in the background.

At the Tenampa cantina, which bills itself as having first brought mariachi troupes to the plaza in the 1920s, a manager said it was business as usual Saturday.

Plaza Garibaldi borders the notorious Tepito district, home to the violent La Union drugs gang.

In 2013, United States civil rights leader Malcolm X's grandson, Malcolm Shabazz, was beaten to death near the square after a dispute over a nightclub bill. That arrest may have set off a battle for leadership and turf.

"It was not random", he said.

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