Three Canadian visitors have been shot dead by a lone gunman at their hotel in the Mexican resort of Playa del Carmen – security officials calling targeted and suspected criminals involved in an attack.

One of the tourists died of his injuries while being taken to hospital after Friday’s incident, according to Quintana Roo Secretary of State for Public Safety Lucio Hernández Gutiérrez, who confirmed the nationality of the victims.

Prosecutors later tweeted that a second Canadian had died from their injuries.

The first dead — identified as ATCH — “had a criminal record: drug dealing, use of a false identity, among others,” the bureau said.

ATCH “is considered a very dangerous person in Canada,” according to prosecutor Óscar Montes de Oca Rosales Awning radio formula.

The second deceased victim, RJD, “also had a criminal history,” according to prosecutors.

Information shared on social media showed a lone attacker in a gray tracksuit brandishing a pistol on the grounds of the Xcaret hotel. A video posted to Twitter showed people screaming as a victim received first aid. The video later panned to show two other victims lying wounded by the pool – one bleeding profusely.

“He’s still breathing,” one person was heard saying amidst the chaos.

The attacker escaped into the dense tropical vegetation surrounding Xcaret – famous for its theme parks in the Riviera Maya – and remains at large. Hernández Gutiérrez said the shooting was “due to a discussion between hotel guests.”

world affairs Canada said in a brief statement there were “reports that Canadian citizens have been affected by an incident in Mexico.”

The attack on a luxury hotel complex comes amid a series of shootings in the Yucatan Peninsula’s Riviera Maya that have killed or injured tourists caught in the crossfire.

A team of At least ten armed men stormed the beach at a luxury hotel near Cancún in November, killing one associated with a rival faction and kidnapping another trying to hide.

A California travel blogger and a German tourist were killed in October at a restaurant in Tulum, south of Playa del Carmen, during a shootout between suspected gang members.

The region attracts millions of tourists every year – even during the corona pandemic Mexico has not imposed any Covid testing or vaccination requirements for travelers.

but Many of Mexico’s major drug cartels are at odds over the region, where they run extortion rackets and sell drugs to tourists.

State officials have blamed rows over drug trafficking for the escalating violence – with foreign tourists being the biggest buyers.