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Prosecutors: gunmen in Mexico massacre of 27 had a target

July 6, 2020 GMT
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Martha Alvarado, sitting, is comforted in her home in Irapuato, Mexico, Thursday, July 2, 2020, during the wake of her son Jorge Bravo who was killed in an attack at a drug rehabilitation center where he was being treated. Gunmen burst into the center and opened fire Wednesday, killing 24 people and wounding seven, authorities said. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
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Martha Alvarado, sitting, is comforted in her home in Irapuato, Mexico, Thursday, July 2, 2020, during the wake of her son Jorge Bravo who was killed in an attack at a drug rehabilitation center where he was being treated. Gunmen burst into the center and opened fire Wednesday, killing 24 people and wounding seven, authorities said. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The gunmen who killed at least 27 people in an unregistered drug rehabilitation center in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato last week were looking for someone in particular, state prosecutors said Monday.

In a statement, the Guanajuato state prosecutor’s office said that three suspected gunmen were in custody and allegedly belong to a criminal organization operating in the area, though the agency did not specify which group.

The men arrived at the two-story rehabilitation center in Irapuato Wednesday evening and forced their way past women on the ground floor. Upstairs they burst into the room holding the center’s male patients and made them all lay face down on the floor. They asked if they knew where a certain person was and when the men answered no, the gunmen opened fire, the statement said. It did not identify the person being sought.

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The gunmen killed 21 men upstairs in that room and three more they encountered on their way out downstairs. Three more who were wounded have since died of their injuries.

The state is the scene of a bloody turf battle between the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and a local gang - the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel - and the state has become the most violent in Mexico.