A clandestine casino in Tijuana, Mexico, came to light for all the wrong reasons on Thursday night when an armed attack at the mini-casino located inside a grocery store left one man dead and two seriously injured.
Federal Police in Mexico have been conducting increased patrols in Tijuana due to the prevalence of crime associated with illegal casinos in the area. (Image: Los Angeles Times )
The three victims were playing the physical and online slots installed in the back of the building in Playas de Tijuana, a borough of Tijuana. The establishment, which had its own entrance and exit door, was discreetly situated in the grocery store, making it difficult to distinguish the casino from the shop.
This is a common occurrence across Mexico; many shops and stores appear innocuous on the exterior, but host illicit activities like illegal gambling and bars behind the scenes. Violence is not a frequent outcome of these ventures, but Tijuana seems to be a notable exception.
Investigation of the Assault
The Attorney General’s Office (FGE) is currently investigating the attack. At present, the details of the incident are inconclusive and the police are piecing together the puzzle, as stated by law enforcement officials.
Officers responded to the sound of gunfire and found the victims in a critical state. It seems the man who died, aged around 35, attempted to flee the premises when the assailants entered and began shooting. He was shot in the chest and fell wounded on the sidewalk in front of a nearby home. The other two victims, a 60-year-old and a 48-year-old, were found at the entrance of the store.
Medical personnel arrived and declared the man who was lying on the pavement dead. The other two victims had sustained severe injuries. One had been shot in the leg and arm, while the other had been struck in the chest. Police discovered more than ten shell casings of different calibers at the scene.
The identities of the victims have not been released, likely out of fear that the survivors may become targets again. The only information available is that the attackers left in a vehicle, and the wounded men may be the only ones who can identify the perpetrators.
Unraveling the Mystery
The grocery store was not open to the public at the time of the attack and its lights were switched off. This has added to the confusion surrounding the attack, as it does not seem to be a robbery gone wrong.
The incident brings to mind a similar attack that happened in January in Tijuana, where a man and a woman were killed and two others were injured. While there was minimal evidence, police suspected the location was a trading post for illegal drugs.
As Mexico plans to reduce the number of licensed casinos, locating underground gambling halls will not be a challenge. These have been a problem in the country for years, particularly in Tijuana. In each of the last three years, police have busted at least five clandestine casinos in the vicinity, as well as in other parts of the nation.
On Thursday night, a tragic armed attack on an illegal mini-casino in Tijuana, Mexico, left one man dead and two others seriously injured. Federal Police in the area had been conducting increased patrols due to the prevalence of crime related to illicit casinos.
The three victims were playing the slots in the back of the grocery store when the assailants entered and began shooting. Medical personnel declared one of the men dead at the scene, while the other two were hospitalized with severe injuries.
The police discovered more than ten shell casings of different calibers, but the identities of the victims have not been released. There is speculation that the assailants left in a vehicle and the wounded men may be the only ones able to identify them.
This attack is reminiscent of a similar incident that occurred this past January in Tijuana, where a man and a woman were killed and two others were injured. Despite the decreasing number of licensed casinos in Mexico, illegal gambling halls remain a problem, especially in Tijuana.