GUATEMALA CITY – At least 11 people were killed and another 15 injured in an armed standoff at a liquor store in Guatemala, rescue officials said.
Rescue workers found victims dead in “hiding places,” in the store’s bathrooms, and in surrounding streets, Sergio Vasquez, spokesman for the volunteer firefighters told local media.
They arrived at the scene in the village of San Jose Nacahuil, about 25 kilometers (16 miles) north of the capital, after getting an emergency call “and a person with a calm voice indicated there were several injured,” Vasquez said.
An investigation is under way to determine the cause of, and who was behind, the carnage.
Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez told reporters the killings could be linked to fearsome gangs – or “maras” – that roam the region.
Guatemala has seen a wave of violence that has left more than 6,000 people dead a year — one of the highest murder rates in Latin America.
Officials estimate as many as half the violent deaths are associated with drug trafficking and the battle between gangs.