Three Americans among 10 killed in Baja California car rally ambush

Members of the army and police secure the perimeter at the site of a long-gun attack
Members of the army and police secure the perimeter at the site of a long-gun attack on a group of amateur rally drivers in Ensenada, Mexico.
(Joatam De Basade /AFP via Getty Images)
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A State Department official said Monday that three Americans were among those killed in a deadly ambush over the weekend at an off-road vehicle rally in Mexico’s Baja California state.

In total, 10 people were killed and another 10 wounded when gunmen opened fire at the rally south of the seaside city of Ensenada on Saturday afternoon.

Video of the attack posted on social media shows at least two men dressed in dark clothing and armed with semiautomatic weapons firing dozens of rounds of bullets at several racing vehicles parked in front of a convenience store. As the men opened fire, they appeared to be shot at in return.


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U.S. officials have not released the names of the Americans killed in the attack. But one of them appears to be Roberto Isais “Tito” Ayala, a San Diego man whose family took to social media Sunday to raise money for his funeral expenses.

A GoFundMe campaign described Ayala as a 22-year-old racing enthusiast and the father of a 4-year-old daughter. It described him as an “innocent bystander” who was not involved in organized crime.

The Baja California state prosecutor’s office said the evidence of crossfire during the shooting suggests a confrontation between rival members of criminal groups.

The shooting prompted concerns about safety in the upcoming Baja 500, a world-famous off-road vehicle race that is expected to draw hundreds of teams when it takes place June 3.

Baja California Gov. Marina Avila told reporters that hundreds of National Guard troops had been mobilized throughout the region after the shooting, which took place about 90 miles south of the U.S. border.

Prosecutors said that they were still investigating the shooting and that no suspects had been arrested.


Baja California has been beset by high levels of violence in recent years, with much of the bloodshed fueled by gang disputes over drug-trafficking routes to the U.S. as well as local drug sales.