Gunfire erupted on a beach in Cancun, Mexico, on Thursday that resulted in the killings of two suspected gang members and sent stunned tourists, including some from the DMV, fleeing into nearby hotels for cover.
D.C. resident Barnette Holston says he and his friends were visiting a resort for the day and were at the pool when they heard what sounded like popping.
"All of the sudden, we heard, ‘pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,’ and some people were saying its fireworks," Holston says.
All of a sudden, you’re seeing people streaming from the beach and everything, and it was just chaos."
Evidence suggests that the shooting was the result of some kind of turf war. The two individuals killed had apparently arrived at the beach in front of the Azul Beach Resort and the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun earlier in the day, claiming it was now their territory.
He says some active shooter training took over and he and his friends went to a room to barricade themselves.
Eventually, updates started rolling in and the Mexican military came to secure the area.
Holston recalls his initial thoughts when the shots were fired.
"There was a lot of them, so, in my head, I’m thinking, ‘mass shooting, mass shooting, mass shooting,’" he says. "Because at the time, you don’t know it’s a drug war, you don’t know anything. So, that’s all I was thinking. I don’t know why they’re shooting, what they were shooting at. All I know is to just flee."
The gunmen arrived at the beach by boat and sought out the individuals they intended to kill, Reuters reported, citing a senior state official. Another official told the news agency that the shootings seems to be the result of a targeted execution on the beach.
He says he didn't quite feel safe until he was in his cab back to his hotel.