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American teen identified as victim in Playa del Carmen nightclub attack

January 17, 2017  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
American teen identified as victim in Playa del Carmen nightclub attack

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A Denver, Colorado girl identified as the fifth victim in Playa del Carmen attack.

Authorities have confirmed the death of an 18-year-old American student as the lone American victim during a shooting at a BPM Festival event at a popular beachside nightclub in the Mexican resort city of Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo on Monday.

Law enforcement officials have reported a total of five people killed and 15 wounded in the carnage that occurred early Monday morning at the Blue Parrot Nightclub.

A gunman reportedly entered the club and exchanged gunfire with another man sparking a mass frenzy.

The 18-year-old American student, identified as Alejandra Villanueva Ibarra, of Denver, was crushed to death amid the chaos by a panicked crowd of people in the Playa del Carmen nightclub.

Following her death, a GoFundMe page was established by her brother Aaron Martinez in her sister’s name to help raise money to bring Alejandra’s remains home from Mexico and provide a proper funeral service for her.

The shooting prompted a stampede out of the nightclub where Alejandra was trampled to death

Martinez told the Daily Mail that local authorities hadn’t revealed much information, only that the gunfire sparked a rush that resulted in Alejandra getting trampled to death.

“All they said is that the shooting provoked everyone to start running and we didn’t know much about how or why it started but it had something to do with the cartel down there.”

“We’re still trying to let things sink in and realize that this is true and this happening. Yesterday morning we spoke – she spoke about how she was having so much fun and can’t wait to come back home and tell us everything about her vacation,” Aaron Matinez said.

Alejandra (left) is pictured with her siblings including brother Aaron Martinez, right, and mother, second from right

“Our family is trying to find out how or how much it will cost us to bring my sister back over here, so pretty much the money is to cover her funeral costs, services, and space where we’re gonna bury her,” Martinez added.

The remaining victims include 49-year-old Kirk Wilson, a father-of-two, and BPM security guard, Daniel Pessina, an Italian national who moved to Play del Carmen and opened a Pizzeria, along with Rafael Francisco Ruiz Murillo, and Antonio Peñalosa Vega, 28, both residents of Veracruz, Mexico.

The U.S. Department of State released a statement regarding Villanueva Ibarra’s death: “We can confirm that one US citizen died on January 16 from injuries sustained in the shooting at The Blue Parrot Night Club. We extend our deepest condolences to family and friends of the US citizen victim.”

Two of the victims included Canadian-based security guard Kirk Wilson (left), Rafael Antonio Peñalosa Vega, 28, of Mexico, and Daniel Pessina (right) from Italy

Martinez described his sister as an aspiring teacher who had an artistic spirit who loved to paint.

“She always gave my mom her all, who has been ill for two years,” Martinez said. “She worked, was going to college and wanted to be a special needs teacher,” he said.

United States Embassy representatives in Mexico City have informed the family that the process of transporting her body back home from Playa del Carmen would commence on Tuesday.

Ignacio Valencia from Houston, Texas, who was one of two American citizens wounded while attempting to flee the gunfire, met Villanueva, during his vacation in Playa del Carmen and was with her when she died.

Valencia pictured with Alejandra right before her death

“Her last words to me was, ‘I don’t feel anything. I don’t feel anything’ Valencia, who suffered gunshot wounds to both arms told ABC News. “I was just in shock, and I just couldn’t move.”

A Los Angeles resident, Hector Escardo Steck, was present inside the jammed packed nightclub and described the scene the moment shots began ringing out. “It was awful; the club was completely full. We heard ten successive shots, and everyone immediately hit the floor, Steck said.

He continued,”right after the music stopped and the crowd started running in a panic frenzy. There is a tall fence between the club and the beach, which everyone started trying to climb over that. A lot of people got hurt because everyone panicked and tried to get away. It was terrifying.”

The shooting took place on the final night of the BPM electronic music festival

Chaos ensued following the shooting, causing a stampede inside the venue which resulted in Alejandra’s death and several others wounded 

“The party started at noon, so revelers were either drunk or on drugs, which added to the confusion,” Steck said. “I didn’t see anyone getting shot because I was at the back of the club, but 20 minutes later in the streets, I saw a lot of dead bodies being guarded by police. People were running everywhere, jumping, punching, running, Steck said.

Authorities said the investigation remained ongoing but pointed to a disagreement between two men as the cause of the shooting.

The state of Quintana Roo and the surrounding Yucatan Peninsula have maintained relatively low murder rates compared to the other parts of Mexico.

Authorities say Los Zetas has maintained control of drug dealing in Playa del Carmen and Cancun.

However, Monday’s violence could be the latest indication that a rival could be encroaching on the Zetas turf sparking fears of an imminent drug war has arrived in the resort city.

Multiple media reports out of Mexico indicated that the purported gunman was a member of the Gulf cartel. Investigators have refused to comment on the unconfirmed reports.

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