At least five people – including two Canadians, an Italian and a Colombian – are dead after a shooting in a Mexican nightclub on the final night of the BPM music festival.

Miguel Angel Pech, the attorney general of Quintana Roo state, said the shooting occurred about 2.30am on Monday at the Blue Parrot nightclub, one of the BPM Festival’s venues in Playa del Carmen, just south of Cancun.

Pech said a lone gunman apparently entered the nightclub and began to exchange fire with another person inside. Festival security personnel tried to stop the shooting and came under fire. Pech said it was not any kind of terrorist attack.

But the shooting apparently caused a rush of people heading for the exits at the beach-side club, and the lone female victim was apparently killed during the stampede. 

Pech said 15 people were injured, one seriously. He said five of the injured had been treated for less serious injuries at local hospitals and released.

He said three people had been detained nearby, but it was unclear if they had been involved in the shooting. 

London-based promoter Elrow was hosting a closing ‘This Is The End’ party at the Blue Parrot when the shooting occurred, and it is believed that many attendees at the event were British and American tourists.

Tourists at the scene have revealed the chaos that ensued during the shooting, and how many initially believed that they heard fireworks or music – not gunshots. 

Local news reports suggest that the incident is connected to ongoing drug cartel wars in the area, and the gunman is believed to still be at large. 

Three BPM security guards were killed during the attack, festival officials revealed. One of the victims is believed to be a Canadian festival organizer, local media reported.

Three of the dead are foreigners, said Torres, mayor of the municipality of Solidaridad, which includes the popular beach resort. 

Gruesome photos from Blue Parrot in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, show the aftermath of a shooting that left up to eight people dead on Monday night

At least 15 people were injured (one pictured above) in the incident, which occurred at a closing party for the BPM music festival

Among the five dead are two Canadians, an Italian and a Colombian. Pictured above, paramedics carry an injured woman on a stretcher

Chaos ensued following the shooting, causing a stampede inside the venue which resulted in several injuries

Emergency responders investigated the scene following the shooting. Video captured at the scene also showed a man helping a group of people huddled together (right)

The BPM organizers said three members of their security team were killed in the shooting, which it said was perpetrated by a lone shooter. Pictured above, emergency responders investigate the scene

A man with bandages wrapped around both his arms sits in an emergency vehicle after receiving treatment

People wait outside a club where a shooting took place in Playa del Carmen early Monday morning

Officials arrived on scene in the early morning to investigate the shooting and treat victims

The streets of Playa del Carmen were packed with tourists and festival attendees after the shooting early Monday morning

A Forensic Medical Service van is parked outside a nightclub in Playa del Carmen following the shooting

Rodolfo Del Angel, director of police in the state of Quintana Roo, told the Milenio TV station that he shooting was the result of ‘a disagreement between people inside’ the nightclub and said security guards had come under fire when they tried to contain the dispute. 

‘For the moment we have indications that one person opened fire,’ Mayor Torres added. She said the shooting appeared to have taken place inside the club, causing people to flee in panic. Other witnesses said it happened outside the club.

Hector Escardo Steck, from Los Angeles, California, told MailOnline that the club was full when the gunman attacked.

He said: ‘It was awful, the club was completely full and at around 2am we heard ten successive gunshots and people immediately hit the floor. Just after that the music stopped and everyone started running in a panic.

‘There is a tall fence between the club and the beach and everyone started trying to climb over that. A lot of people got hurt in the attempt top club over, because people were panicking and trying to get away. It was terrifying.

‘I was at the back of the club, so I didn’t see anyone get shot, but 20 minutes later in the streets I saw a lot of dead bodies being guarded by police officers. People were running everywhere, jumping, punching, running.

‘The party had been going since noon, and everyone in the club was either drunk or on drugs, and there was a lot of confusion.

‘In Playa del Carmen you see drugs in quantities that you have never seen before, and everyone is drugged up so it was a very confusing experience that no one was expecting. People were very angry and confused, but mainly angry.’ 

As daylight broke in Playa del Carmen on Monday, police investigators were still at the scene

Of those injured, some were hurt during the stampede as people ran from the night club

Police guard the entrance of the Blue Parrot nightclub in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, later Monday morning

Rodolfo Del Angel, director of police in the state of Quintana Roo, told the Milenio TV station that he shooting was the result of ‘a disagreement between people inside’ the nightclub. Pictured above, police guard the exit of the Blue Parrot nightclub

Blue Parrot  was one of several venues hosting events as part of the BPM festival, which brings together more than 150 of the world’s top DJs and musical acts. Pictured above, a tourist takes photos of the Blue Parrot nightclub

Tourists at the scene have revealed the chaos that ensued during the shooting, and how many initially believed that they heard fireworks or music – not gunshots

Mexican police were investigating the scene of the shooting into the late morning on Monday

Shoes and debris remained on the beach in Playa del Carmen following Monday’s shooting

An editor for the London-based music magazine Mixmag who was in the backstage area of the Blue Parrot said at least four or five shots were fired at around 2.45 or 3am, indicating that it happened in front of the club.

‘People started running because there’s an exit in the back. We stopped and hid behind a cement wall, then crawled under a metal table,’ Valerie Lee, Mixmag’s US digital editor, was quoted as saying by the magazine.

‘Security guards at first didn’t think it was shots and kept claiming it was fireworks, saying everything was OK. Then people kept running and said they saw a gun. We kept hiding until they opened the back gate and we ran outside,’ Lee said.

Lee wrote on Twitter that the music was still playing five minutes after the shots were heard. The music, she said, was ‘super loud, likely those inside didn’t even hear.’

She said friends outside the entrance were just six meters (20 feet) from the shooter.

‘Bodies on the ground. Didn’t seem like shooters tried to enter the party,’ Lee wrote.

‘Police took over 10 minutes to arrive. Victims likely include tourists/party goers, poss (possibly) a security guard.’

Joe Serock, from San Diego, California, said he has never experienced the kind of panic which unfolded after a man opened fire in the Blue Parrot.

‘I heard three or four gunshots, but they didn’t sound real to me,’ said Joe, 28, who was at a beach party next to the nightclub when the shooting started. 

People ducked for cover in the venue as security scanned the area following the shooting 

As many as eight people are dead following the incident, which took place on the final night of the BPM electronic music festival 

People were seen running from the club following the shooting, which reportedly left as many as eight people dead

He told MailOnline: ‘All of a sudden people were scrambling over the fence and onto the beach. They just started sprinting away from the place so we did too.

‘My friend saw someone bleeding really badly and not moving in the back alley next to the club.

‘I had no idea where some of my friends were until we got back to the hotel and messaged them. We were waiting an hour for our other friend to message me, which was pretty scary.’

Joe, a professional gambler who has been going to the BPM festival with his friends for the last few years, said the attack will not put him off returning again. 

Scottish DJ Jackmaster issued a warning on Twitter saying, ‘Stay in your f*****g hotels’ following the shooting

American-born William Rogers, who lives in Mexico City and was in Playa del Carmen for the festival ran to a nearby club to take cover during the shooting.

He told The Mirror that he and others stayed inside the club Mandala ‘for around 30 or 45 minutes’ until the area was cleared and security let them leave.

‘The festival is probably 80 per cent tourists and you could see it was not only cartel people who had been injured. It’s so sad and the worst example of the reality in Mexico,’ he said of the shooting.

Reveler George de Menezes told The Independent that he and his friends were just two meters from the gunman when the shooting occurred.

He said: ‘No one took it seriously, but I knew straight away that it was a gun and dropped to the floor, then everyone dropped with me.

‘The music stopped and so did the shots, so we got up and one man was down on the floor and looked dead, and another man had been shot but was trying to stay on his feet.’

De Menezes said that people in the club tried to escape by running to the beach, but shots kept being fired. 

Pictured above, a woman helps a man and woman at the scene following the shooting on Monday

Mexican police have confirmed the mass shooting but have not given motive for the gunfire. It is believed that the incident is connected to ongoing drug cartel wars in the area. Pictured above, a woman is helped by officials after the shooting

Among the dead is believed to be the Blue Parrot’s security guard. Police have not reported any arrests

It is unknown how many people were injured during the shooting, which happened early Monday morning

‘Finally got out from there and got up to the Main Street and there was another man dead on the street, so everyone started running for their lives,’ he said.

The reveler said that he and friends heard more shots when they finally got back to their hotel.

Los Angeles resident Jake Lubelski wrote on Facebook that he was 20 feet away from the gunman when the shooting took place. 


Playa del Carmen is in the Mexico state of Quintana Roo, approximately 40 miles south of the popular resort destination Cancun. 

The town, which sits on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, was founded in 1937. 

It is a popular tourist destination and has been host to several PGA golf tournaments. 

In Quintana Roo, however, crime is rapidly increasing, especially in the non-tourist areas in Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

Between 2014 and 2015, there was a 40 per cent increase in homicides and a 43 per cent increase in violent robberies. 

The state is ranked fifth nationally in reported cases of extortion, according to OSAC. 

A recent study also ranked Cancun as the Mexican city with the highest levels of human Trafficking activity for the purpose of sexual exploitation.   

‘I was standing outside of a club on an insanely crowded street when it happened; I was maybe 20 feet away from the shooter,’ he wrote. ‘As soon as I heard gun shots, everyone started bolting and we nearly got trampled by the frantic herds of people.

‘As soon as I turned around the corner and got a look at the scene, I saw a man lying on the floor in his own blood. it could have been me.’ 

A worker at CostaMed hospital in Playa del Carmen told NBC News that a man and a woman were admitted to the hospital at 3.39am local time.

He said that the man was in ‘grave’ condition while the woman was in stable condition.

A second shooting was reported at the club The Jungle, where another BPM closing party featuring John Acquaviva, Stacey Pullen and David Berrie was taking place.

Videos on Instagram show people running through the streets of Playa Del Carmen following the shooting.

Images shared on social media showed people cowering or running down the street. 

Scottish DJ Jackmaster issued a warning on Twitter saying, ‘Stay in your f*****g hotels’ following the shooting.

The DJ, whose real name is Jack Revill, tweeted about the incident just after 3am local time.

‘Someone has come into the club in Playa Del Carmen and opened fire. 4-5 dead and many wounded. Stay in ur f****n hotel if you’re here at BPM,’ he wrote. ‘Apparently now more shots fired at another club in the area.’

 Officials have not released a statement on the incident, but confirmed the mass shooting to local media

At least 15 people were injured in the attack, and they were taken to local hospitals by officials

Officials carried victims out of the area on stretchers following the shooting on Monday

At least two victims were taken to CostaMed hospital in Playa del Carmen for treatment. A worker said one was in ‘grave’ condition while another was stable

The UK Foreign Office released a statement following the shooting.

‘We are seeking information from emergency services in Mexico, following reports of a shooting in Playa del Carmen,’ a Foreign Office spokesman said. 

Neither US nor Canadian officials could immediately confirm if any of their citizens were among the victims in the shooting.

BPM Festival has said that all closing parties have been shut down as police start their investigation into the shootings.

‘After alleged reports of shots fired this morning at Blue Parrot, all BPM parties are shut down while police investigations are underway,’ the festival said in a statement.

Festival officials encouraged people to stay inside. The BPM Festival, which ran between January 6 and 15, was celebrating its ten-year anniversary this year.

Following the incident, the festival released a statement confirming at least four people had died.

The statement said: ‘It is with great sadness to share that police have confirmed reports of a lone shooter outside the Blue Parrot nightclub in Playa Del Carmen earlier today, which resulted in four fatalities and 15 injured. 

‘The violence began on 12th street in front of the club and three members of the BPM security team were among those whose lives were lost while trying to protect patrons inside the venue. 

 Medical officials were seen outside the nightclub following Monday’s early morning shooting

 While it is unknown how many people were injured in the shooting, several people were taken to the hosptital

Events at the Blue Parrot Club (pictured in daylight) were part of the annual BPM Festival, which closed on Sunday night

‘The BPM Festival has been working closely with the local authorities (Seguridad Publica / Policia Turistica) throughout the festival to ensure public safety and security for all visitors.

‘We are overcome with grief over this senseless act of violence and we are cooperating fully with local law enforcement and government officials as they continue their investigation.

‘Our thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and their families and all those affected by these tragic events.’

Playa Del Carmen is a popular resort town on Mexico’s Caribbean coast located about 40 miles south Cancun.

The town was founded in 1937 and has been host to several PGA golf tournaments.

The BPM festival has grown to be one of the most important electronic music events in the world, with top DJs flying in every January to play the clubs of Playa del Carmen along Mexico’s Caribbean coast.

Quintana Roo and the surrounding Yucatan peninsula have traditionally been less violent than other parts of Mexico, with relatively low murder rates. 

However, with many foreign tourists and a vibrant night life scene, there has long been an important local drug market in and around Playa Del Carmen.

In recent years, Mexico’s Caribbean coast has drawn DJs and fans of electronic music to the beautiful, balmy region during the frigid European and North American winters.


More than ten years after Mexico declared a war on drugs, the offensive has left some major drug cartels splintered and many old-line kingpins like Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman in jail, but done little to reduce crime or violence in the nation’s roughest regions.

Some say the war has been a crucial, but flawed, effort. Others argue the offensive begun by then-President Felipe Calderon on December 11, 2006, unleashed an unnecessary tragedy with more than 100,000 people dead and about 30,000 missing – a toll comparable to the Central American civil wars of the 1980s.

The infamous Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman is one of the many drug cartel leaders who has been captured by police

In some places, homicide rates have lessened. In others, the killings continue unabated. 

The drawn-out conflict has also had a profound effect on those close to the cross-hairs of suffering: youths inured to extreme violence; adults so fed-up with poor and corrupt policing that they took up arms as vigilantes; and families who banded together in the face of authorities’ inability to find their vanished loved ones.

A law enforcement official in the northern border state of Tamaulipas says he now routinely encounters young cartel gunmen who have few regrets about their vocation.

In fact, they see killing as the best way to afford things like smartphones, cars and girlfriends.

He recalled the case of one 16-year-old who kidnapped, killed and mutilated his victims, and then took selfies with the cut-up bodies. A decade into the war, the violence is the only reality his generation has ever known.

Now the state faces a new challenge: Many of the older cartel gunmen jailed early on were convicted only of lesser weapons charges, as prosecutors are often unable to make organized-crime or money-laundering charges stick, and some are being released and returning to their old ways.

While Tamaulipas has calmed somewhat after reaching horrifying murder levels around 2010-2012, there are still shootouts and mass graves and piles of bodies – only no longer as frequently. Arrests and deaths have fractured the hyper-violent Zetas cartel in Tamaulipas, but the result has been a dozen smaller factions at war with each other for control.

Mexico’s armed forces have increasingly been pulled into the conflict because police forces are often corrupt or unreliable.

That has had its own toll on the troops, who are frequently ambushed and accused of illegally executing detained cartel suspects in some cases.

Defense Secretary Gen Salvador Cienfuegos noted that the army’s involvement was only supposed to be temporary while policing was reformed.

‘Ten years ago it was decided that the police should be rebuilt, and we still haven’t seen that reconstruction,’ Cienfuegos said. ‘This isn’t something that can be solved with bullets. It requires other measures, and there has not been decisive action on budgets to make that happen.’

Calderon launched the drug counteroffensive by sending troops to his home state of Michoacan, where the Familia Michoacana drug gang and later the Knights Templar cartel have dominated many aspects of daily life, such as telling residents when to pick crops and determining what price they would get. Through extortion, the gangs took a cut of every industry in the state.

Citizens formed vigilante groups and largely chased the Knights Templar out, though other gangs have since taken root.

Bigger gains can be seen in places like Ciudad Juarez, which is across the border from El Paso, Texas, and where an average of ten people were killed each day at the height of the city’s violence in 2008-2010.

In Chihuahua state, home to Juarez, homicides have fallen by about two-thirds since it began a stepped-up policing effort in 2010.

But in some places, things seem to be getting worse.

In the southern state of Guerrero, authorities routinely report grim discoveries: mass graves containing the bodies of kidnap victims, severed human heads dumped in public, federal agents burned to death on a highway. The once-glamorous resort of Acapulco is now one of the world’s deadliest cities.

In Iguala, Guerrero, where 43 teachers’ college students disappeared in 2014, relatives of other people who have vanished were emboldened enough to form a group to search for their own missing loved ones.

So far they have found and gotten authorities to exhume 18 bodies from clandestine graves – a measure of closure at least for those families, when missing-persons cases have long been routinely written off by police.

In Quintana Roo, crime is rapidly increasing, especially in the non-tourist areas in Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

Between 2014 and 2015, there was a 40 per cent increase in homicides and a 43 per cent increase in violent robberies. 

The state is ranked fifth nationally in reported cases of extortion, according to OSAC. 

A recent study also ranked Cancun as the Mexican city with the highest levels of human Trafficking activity for the purpose of sexual exploitation.   

While the government has created support agencies for victims and improved its handling of investigations and bodies, it is grass-roots groups like The Other Disappeared that have mainly been responsible for such small victories.

Raul Benitez, a security specialist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, said Calderon was right to fight the cartels but argued that the government has failed to stop corruption within its own ranks.


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