Authorities say gunmen who stormed a hospital and battled police in Tijuana April 18, leaving three dead, were soliders for the city’s Arellano Felix drug cartel. The clashes began when police tried to stop a truck carrying two alleged Arellano Felix gunmen suspected of plotting to attack members of a rival cartel. The two men fled, firing at their pursuers and crashing into another vehicle. One suspect was killed, and another wounded and taken to Tijuana’s public hospital. Four gunmen then headed to the hospital to free him, but were confronted by state police escorting some prisoners for routine surgery. A new shootout erupted and the gunmen fled inside, seizing a ward for several hours until dozens of federal police and army troops stormed in and subdued them.
There still seems to be some confusion about the incident. Two of the four gunmen at the hospital were taken into custody, according to Patricio Patiño, assistant federal secretary of public safety. He did not say what happened to the other two. Earlier reports said that six to eight men had attacked the hospital to free a fellow criminal who had been arrested and was undergoing medical treatment. No hospital patients or staff were wounded, Patiño said. (AP, April 20)