- Associated Press - Thursday, October 28, 2010

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Gunmen killed six young men in a gritty neighborhood of the Mexican capital Thursday, an official said.

The men in their late teens and early 20s were hanging out together on a street when the gunmen arrived, Mexico City Attorney General Miguel Angel Mancera said in an interview with the Televisa network. He said angry words were exchanged, and the gunmen opened fire.

It was the fourth major shooting in Mexico in less than a week. All have occurred in different parts of the country and appear unrelated.

Mr. Mancera said he did not know if drug gangs were involved in the middle-of-the night shooting in Tepito, a working-class neighborhood just north of Mexico City’s colonial center.

Drug dealing is rampant there, but Mr. Mancera said there also have been problems with disputes among carjacking gangs.

“It is a complicated zone, a very delicate zone,” Mr. Mancera said. “We would like to reassure the population that we are going to find those responsible.

Mr. Mancera said bullet casings of two different calibers — 9 mm and 2.23 mm — were found at the scene, suggesting there were at least two gunmen. He said police were interviewing relatives and witnesses to determine the background of the victims and a possible motive.

The shooting occurred a day after gunmen killed 15 people at a car wash in Tepic, a city in the Pacific coast state of Nayarit.

Over the weekend, gunmen massacred 14 young people at a birthday party in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, and 13 recovering addicts were killed in an attack on a drug rehab center in Tijuana.

The first three shootings occurred in disputed drug trafficking territory where massacres, beheadings and shootouts occur frequently.

While crime is a major problem in Mexico City, cartel-style violence has been less common.

Still, shootings between cartel gunmen and security forces have occasionally erupted during operations to arrest kingpins in the Mexico City area, one of the world’s largest metropolises when an estimated 20 million people.

The most recent was the Aug. 20 capture of U.S.-born Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez Villarreal, a suspected drug lord who was purportedly fighting for control of Morelos, a state that borders the capital. While the arrest of “La Barbie” on the outskirts of Mexico City was peaceful, a shooting on a highway of the city that day killed one of his suspected accomplices.

Disputes between “La Barbie” and his rivals have also been blamed for several bodies found dumped in some neighborhoods of the capital this year.

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