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Shootout leaves seven dead in Tepatitlan

October 9, 2013

Three state police officers and four criminals were killed in a prolonged shootout in Tepatitlan in Los Altos de Jalisco on Tuesday.

One man was arrested and four police officers were injured in the firefight which began just before 4 p.m. and lasted over five hours. The criminals were suspected members of a cell that operated in the Lagos de Moreno area, the Prosecutor General’s Office (FGE) said on Wednesday.

Tepatitlan’s head of public security said the shootout started when gunmen aboard several trucks opened fire on municipal police officers on the east side of town. Pursued by the police, the suspects took cover at a home in the Jardines de Oriente neighborhood.

From there they attacked the police with high-power automatic weapons and fragmentation grenades. The municipal police force requested support from the FGE and in the next few hours more than 200 municipal, state and federal police officers and soldiers were deployed to combat the criminals.

Over 300 students were evacuated from two nearby schools, while neighbors took shelter in their homes throughout the siege.

When darkness fell, the authorities decided to raid the property, El Universal reported. Commander Ruben Landeros, an ex-military officer serving as inspector general of the state police, approached the property along with two other officers aboard an armored car, but they were killed upon dismounting from the vehicle. The firefight then intensified and the criminals were eventually overwhelmed.

“Three of the criminals were killed in the house and another died when he was attended to by paramedics,” Prosecutor General Luis Carlos Najera said. “These people had a lot of firepower,” Najera added, after the authorities recovered nine firearms, including a high-power .50 caliber rifle.

“I respect the memory of the three members of our security forces who fell heroically in the line of duty. Their families are not alone,” Governor Aristoteles Sandoval wrote on Twitter on Wednesday morning.

“Four police officers were injured in the clash, two of them are hospitalized in a stable condition and the other two have shrapnel wounds and were discharged,” the FGE added in a statement.

On Thursday, the FGE identified the sole detainee from the shootout as Jesus Eduardo Rosales Baraja, 33. Rosales served as a municipal police officer in his hometown of Ciudad Guzman from 2001 to 2007 and has since been linked to a number of kidnappings, the FGE stated.

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