Crime and Violence

Possible cartel-related gunfire suspends Mexican professional soccer game

08/23/11 – On Saturday, August 20, a professional soccer match in Torreón, Coahuila, a northern Mexican state that borders Texas, was indefinitely suspended after gunfire opened up directly outside of the Territorio Santos Modelo stadium. The general director of the Torreón Public Security (Seguridad Pública de Torreón, SSP), Adelaido Flores Díaz, reported that unidentified assailants fired upon policemen in the streets surrounding the soccer stadium, which resulted in returned fire and a police chase of the gunmen. Although no suspects have been identified, El Paso Times noted the continually increasing violent exchanges in Torreón between feuding rival organizations- the Sinaloa and Los Zetas cartels- suggesting that the incident may be yet another incident of drug-related violence to hit Coahuila since 2006. Reports indicated that no one was killed in the attack, although one policeman was injured.

The incident cut short the soccer match between local clubs Santos and Morelia after 40 minutes of play as the audible gunshots sent players, fans, and referees running for cover. Video footage from inside the stadium show players sprinting for the locker rooms while the estimated 20,000 fans in attendance hide under their seats, initially unaware from where the shots originate. Thereafter, fans flocked to the field and tunnels to take cover. Despite the panic inside of the stadium, the soccer club’s president, the Torreón Public Security, the State Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado de Coahuila, PGJE), and Mexican President Felipe Calderón (via Twitter) all similarly reiterated afterwards that “the situation [was] under control” and that the attacks were not targeted towards citizens, rather just against the police forces. According to the Los Angeles Times, “the president’s comment sparked numerous retorts by other Twitter users, some asking: ‘Under control by whom?’” Investigations into Saturday’s events are ongoing.


Associated Press. “Mexican soccer match in Torreon suspended because of gunfire.” El Paso Times. August 21, 2011. 

Notimex. “Confirma SSP de Torreón que balazos fueron contra una patrulla, no al estadio.” La Jornada. August 21, 2011.

Redacción. “Ráfagas en vez de silbatazo… en el estadio de Torreón.” Excelsior. August 21, 2011.

Hernandez, Daniel. “Panic grips fans during shooting near Mexico soccer match.” Los Angeles Times. August 22, 2011. 

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