12 dead following police raid of Mexican night club

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

At least 12 people have died and 32 have been injured because of a human stampede in the night club News Divine in Mexico City, Mexico. About 1,000 people tried to leave the club at the same time through the only accessible door during a police raid. The establishment's owner, Alfredo Maya Ortiz, told those in the club to leave due to the authorities' appearance.

The Secretaría de Seguridad Pública (Public Safety, SSP) police officers arrived at the club at 5pm after being informed of alcohol sales to minors. During the raid, Ortiz used the sound system to make an announcement asking everyone to evacuate. Everyone did so simultaneously.

Three minors are confirmed dead following the incident, as are six teenagers between 18 and 22 years old and three policemen. Some of the victims lost their lives because they were flattened by the doors being opened. Others perished after falling to the floor and getting trampled by the stampede. There were a number of deaths due to cars unintentionally running over people. All bodies were moved to the GAM 5 territorial coordination.

"Everybody began to run to the door desperately, in that moment somebody fell to the floor; others where arrested by the police when they crossed the door. Some of them where hit and moved to some buses. When they [the police] weren't looking at us, I took one of my friends and started to run", said a reserved source. He or she also confirmed that drugs were sold there and the club was only a "small two-story club that was always crowded".

In addition to the owner, club employee Mariana de la Cruz Gayoso and an unidentified person have been arrested. The head of SSP, Joel Ortega Cuevas, confirmed the destitution of the policemen who organized the raid in order to optimize the investigation.

News Divine has been open for three years and in that time has been closed three times by the law. Most recently, it was closed earlier this year. There have been many reports and complaints of drug sales, fights, and aggression around the club.