Three people accused of belonging to a gang and a taxi driver who was transporting them were murdered Monday by unknown gunmen after the young men were released from a police station near San Salvador, a police official said.
One of the dead gangmembers was a minor and another was wounded in the shootout and hospitalized, the National Civil Police (PNC) chief in the capital’s metropolitan area, Mauricio Arriaza Chicas, told reporters.
Arriaza Chicas said that the young men spent the weekend in the PNC jail in Cuscatancingo, on the northern outskirts of San Salvador, on suspicion of committing several crimes that eventually were unable to be proved, and they were ultimately released and hailed a taxi to take them elsewhere in the city.
However, minutes later the taxi was intercepted and its occupants riddled with bullets by four armed men who got out of another vehicle and opened fire, the police chief said.
He attributed the deed to the fact that the young men who were fired upon belonged to the M18 gang and were identified by their rivals in the Mara Salvatrucha (MS) gang, which controls the part of the city where the massacre occurred.
The MS and the M18 are the largest and most violent gangs in El Salvador, and in recent months violence perpetrated by them has increased despite a “truce” agreed to in 2012, authorities said.
During the recent Holy Week, the PNC registered at least 73 murders, 29 more than during the same period last year, the force said Monday in a statement. EFE