A Chicago-area mother-of-four with family was killed and her sister seriously injured in a mass shooting that left 19 dead in an underground cockfight in Michoacan, Utah. western Mexico, Sunday.
Melissa Silva and her sister Arleth Silva, 16, were vacationing in Michoacan and were at the rally near the town of Zinapecuaro when the assailants opened fire, according to the family.
Melissa Silva, a mother of four with relatives in Warrenville, was shot and killed and Arleth Silva was struck multiple times. The teenager is in critical condition in a hospital in Mexico and three others were also injured in the shooting.
Melissa and Arleth’s sister has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral costs and help with medical bills.
Prosecutors said the shooters apparently planned the attack and entered a stolen truck belonging to a snack company.
“The fast food company truck arrived and several armed people in camouflage gear got out,” a statement from prosecutors said. “At the same time, a bus that was outside the building was used as a blockade”, apparently to prevent the victims from escaping or calling for help, he added.
Investigators found 15 vehicles that apparently belonged to the victims, one of which had stickers with the logo of a criminal gang. Prosecutors said drug cartels and other criminal gangs were fighting in the area.
“There are indications that the attack involved a confrontation between criminal groups,” the Federal Department of Public Security said in a statement. He added that a team of federal investigators had been sent to the scene.
Michoacan has been the scene of a long turf battle between local cartels and the Jalisco Cartel from the neighboring state of Jalisco. Fighting has included the use of bomb-width drones, landmines and homemade armored cars.
Cockfighting, while illegal in many areas, remains a popular pastime in parts of Mexico, although the fights usually take place underground.