Mexico Casino Torched: 52 Killed

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:
Mexico Casino Torched

52 people were killed this week at the Monterrey, Mexico Casino Royale, a popular low-cost lunch spot, after armed men burst into the establishment, sprinkled accelerant around the front door and set it on fire. 

“Get out!  Get out! We’re going to burn everything!” the men shouted. 

Mostly women were killed in the macabre attack. 

"We are facing true terrorists who have gone beyond all limits," said Mexico President Felipe Calderon, who also announced he is sending more federal forces to the city of 1 million people. "Today, Mexico is upset and saddened and we have to transform this sadness and this grief into courage and valor to face ... these criminals."

Three days of mourning were declared in the wake of the killings. 

A surveillance tape released Friday showed eight or nine men arriving in four cars and carrying canisters into the building, which was engulfed in flames in little more than two minutes as people tried to flee in panic, according to the Associated Press. 

Many of the bodies were found in bathrooms and offices, suggesting the prospect of a shootout.  Authorities were investigating whether exits had been blocked. 

"They sought places to protect themselves from firearms," said Jorge Camacho Rincon, civil protection director for the state of Nuevo Leon. "They went running to closed areas."

Most died of smoke inhalation and were found clutching cell phones in their hands, a law-enforcement official who wasn't authorized to be quoted by name told The Associated Press.

Gang warfare, mostly associated to the drug cartels,  has claimed some 35,000 lives since 2006.

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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