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LGBTQ Tour Operator VACAYA Says All Guests Safe in Resort Shooting

Friday November 5, 2021

Government forces guard the entrance of hotel after an armed confrontation near Puerto Morelos, Mexico.
Government forces guard the entrance of hotel after an armed confrontation near Puerto Morelos, Mexico.  (Source:AP Photo/Karim Torres)

A weeklong LGBTQ celebration at the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun turned tragic as a "commando of drug gang gunmen... stormed ashore at a beach on Mexico's resort-studded Caribbean coast in front of luxury hotels and executed two drug dealers from a rival gang," AP News reports.

The shootout resulted in the deaths of two gang members. One other person, whom some reports said was a tourist, was also injured.

LGBTQ+ tour operator VACAYA had booked the entire resort for an epic weeklong event from October 30 through November 6, with events planned throughout the property.

AP News reported that about 15 men, wearing masks and armed with automatic weapons, arrived by boat and stormed the beach, targeting two men from a rival gang who had come earlier in the day to announce they were taking over as the area's drug dealers.

Guests ran for safety in the hotel when gunfire erupted on the beach. One of the targeted men also fled into the hotel, where he died.

VACAYA's co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Patrick Gunn told EDGE that the armed assault "was in no way a targeted attack on the LGBT+ community," added that "with the exception of one guest," no tourists were hurt. That guest, Gunn said, "is currently doing well at a local hospital, is surrounded by friends and family, and is expected to return to the resort shortly.

"We have been given the all-clear from Mexican officials to resume operations," Gunn added. "We are now working hand in hand with our hotel partner to calm and nurture our guests."

Shaken tourists told media outlets that hotel staff responded to the crisis by giving them makeshift weapons. "We manned the entrances to the basement and were given metal sticks, even a pedestal bathroom sink, to defend ourselves," one vacationer told CNN.

One guest, Mike Singleton, posted on Twitter that "Staff hustled us into hidden rooms behind the kitchens, U.S. News & World Report said. Other guests sheltered in their rooms or in the hotel lobby.

The gunmen reportedly departed the scene in the same boat after slaying the two alleged rival drug dealers.