UPDATE: Vacaya issued an additional update to Out Traveler addressing the incident.
“Vacaya, our guests, and the staff of Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun welcome back the most grievously harmed guest from yesterday’s shooting near the resort. After getting a bit of rest tonight, he’ll be heading back home along with all other VACAYA guests tomorrow. We are so thankful to have him back.”
EARLIER UPDATE: Vacaya issued the following statement to Out Traveler addressing the incident addressed in this article.
“Vacaya can confirm there was a gang-related shooting incident near the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun on November 4 and it was in no way a targeted attack on the LGBT+ community. Thankfully, there were only a few minor scrapes and bruises along the way, with the exception of one guest, who was injured. That individual 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. We are now working hand in hand with our hotel partner to calm and nurture our guests.”
LGBTQ+ guests are among those who had to take shelter after gunmen opened fire at the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun resort in Mexico Thursday.
The “armed individuals” arrived at the luxury resort’s beach area shortly 3 p.m. and fatally shot “two men who are presumed to be drug dealers,” according to a police statement quoted by The Daily Beast. The police said no tourists were abducted or seriously injured, and that the shooters appeared to be from a rival gang of drug dealers. At least one suspect has been arrested; some reports say there was one shooter, with a machine gun, while others refer to multiple shooters.
Randle Roper of Vacaya, a company that organizes LGBTQ+ tours, was at the resort with a group of U.S. tourists. They were sheltering in place, he told the Beast.
Andrew Krop of Montana tweeted that his husband, Eric, had been on the beach and saw the men begin shooting. Eric “just ran,” eventually gathering safely with other guests in the lobby, Krop told the Beast.
Others tweeted throughout the ordeal from when they were first warned of an armed person in the area to when they were ushered back to their rooms.
Drug trafficking and related violence were long uncommon on the Cancun tourist strip, part of Mexico’s Riviera Maya and a popular destination for LGBTQ+ travelers, but gangs appear to be moving into the area.
“The closing of land borders because of COVID-19 — and the pressure from the U.S. to crack down on migrant caravans — have caused Mexico to divert thousands of troops to its southern border,” Mike Vigil, a former U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency official, told the Beast last week, after a fatal shooting at another resort. “The increased presence of security forces on the border with Central America has created a significant shift to Quintana Roo [the state where the Riviera Maya is located] using jet aircraft.”
A Hyatt spokesperson issued this statement to the Beast: “The safety and wellbeing of guests and colleagues is always a top priority. … We understand the hotel team immediately engaged local authorities who are on the scene investigating the situation. The hotel team is taking steps in an effort to ensure the safety of guests and colleagues, and further questions may be directed to local authorities.”
Karisma Hotels & Resorts, which runs the neighboring Azul Beach Resort Riviera Cancun, also released a statement, reports Los Angeles TV station KABC. “Our team at Azul Beach Resort Riviera Cancun is closely monitoring developments following a shooting that took place on the beach near the resort,” the statement said. “No guests or employees were harmed. As always, the safety and security of our guests are of our utmost concern. An investigation is currently underway and we are doing whatever we can to facilitate and support the work of local officials. Any questions about the incident should be directed to local authorities.”