8 killed in mass shooting near resort area in Mexico

Eight people were killed in a mass shooting that happened near a resort area "right in the center of town" south of Mexico City, officials said. 

Four people died at the scene, while four others died at the hospital, according to the government of the state of Morelos. Seven of the victims ranged in age from 29 to 50 years old while the eighth victim was not immediately identified.

It happened late Saturday in Huitzilac, a mountain township plagued by crime due to illegal loggers, kidnappers, and drug gangs, in part because it provides the closest retreat near Mexico's capital, the Associated Press reports.


Rafael Vargas, the town's mayor, called the attack "a terrible violent act."

"Right in the center of town, several people were attacked and killed," Vargas said.  

"The violence should stop. We will denounce all types of slander that seek to damage our people," he added.

Morelos is a popular vacation destination for Mexico City residents, although it borders Guerrero state, where various drug cartels operate.

Last week, 18 bodies were found in Zacatecas, a northern Mexican state reeling from a wave of drug cartel-related violence. Messages addressed to a criminal group were found with nine of the corpses, authorities said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.