Gunmen burst into a party hall in southeastern Mexico on Friday and opened fire, killing at least 13 people, authorities said.
The attackers raided a family party in the city of Minatitlán in the Mexican state of Veracruz. Six men, five women and a child were killed and four others were wounded, the state’s public security department said.
Authorities said the suspects were looking for a person known as “El Beky” when shooting ensued, according to preliminary reports obtained by the state police. He is believed to be the owner of a bar located in Minatitlán.
But the motive behind the mass shooting was not immediately known.
“Federal and state forces have deployed a strong search and capture operation of those responsible for the events,” Gutiérrez Maldonado, secretary of public security in Veracruz state, tweeted Saturday.
State authorities held an emergency meeting “to address the regrettable and condemnable events,” Veracruz state Gov. Cuitláhuac García tweeted.
Minatitlán Mayor Nicolás Reyes Álvarez described the attack as a “tragedy that tears the soul” and an incident that he “deeply regrets.”
He called state and federal officials to investigate the shooting “so they would not go unpunished in any way.”
Friday’s mass shooting in Minatitlán comes just a couple of days before President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is scheduled to travel to the state of Veracruz for an official visit.
Reyes Álvarez said he plans to ask López Obrador to increase security forces and, if possible, assign the Mexican National Guard to patrol the city. Minatitlán has also canceled a public weekend-long event to commemorate Holy Week and Easter.
Minatitlán is about 315 miles (507 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City. The shooting took place near one of the six oil refineries run by Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, the country’s state-owned oil company.