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4 police officers, up to 8 suspects killed in western Mexico

MEXICO — Four police officers in western Mexico have died after being drawn into an ambush-style shootout, authorities said Thursday.

Luis Joaquín Méndez, the chief prosecutor for the western state of Jalisco, said four municipal police officers from the town of El Salto responded to a call Wednesday night about gunmen inside a house.

Once they arrived, a woman opened the door and told them everything was fine. But gunmen inside then opened fire on the officers, some of whom were dragged into the house and killed, the prosecutor said.

Governor Enrique Alfaro wrote that police reinforcements later showed up and engaged in a shootout with the suspects, killing eight and injuring three.

Ricardo Santillán, El Salto’s police chief, called the shooting a “cowardly act”.

Mexico’s Council of Catholic Bishops released an open letter Thursday calling on the government to change course on security, commenting three days after two Jesuit priests were allegedly killed by a drug gang leader inside their church in a remote town in northern Mexico.

“It is time to revisit failing security policies,” the bishops wrote, calling for a “national dialogue” to find solutions.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said his government was no longer focused on detaining drug cartel leaders and in 2019 ordered the release of a captured Sinaloa cartel leader to avoid bloodshed .

López Obrador implemented a strategy he calls “hugs, not bullets” and at times seemed to tolerate the gangs, at one point even praising them for not interfering in the election.

Asked during his daily morning press briefing if he intended to change his strategy, López Obrador replied: “No, rather the opposite, it’s the right path.”

He has faced questions that there have been more murders in his 3½ years in office than in the six years under President Felipe Calderón in 2006-2012, which López Obrador accuses frequently to be responsible for unnecessary bloodshed.

“It’s just that we received a homicide rate that was at its peak, very high, and Calderón didn’t receive the country like that. He accelerated it,” López Obrador said.

ABC News

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