Mexican authorities said Monday that police shot and wounded a university student in Guerrero state, where residents have been protesting suspected police involvement in the deaths and disappearances of dozens of college students last month.
Officers in the state capital, Chilpancingo, fired on on a van carrying several university students after it failed to stop at a checkpoint Sunday night, said Victor Leon Maldonado of the Guerrero state prosecutor’s office.
Maldonado said police mistakenly believed the van was carrying kidnapping suspects who had killed an officer in an earlier shootout.
The wounded student, a German national studying at the Monterrey Institute of Technology, was in stable condition Monday.
The incident coincided with growing national unrest over the alleged police killings of six people and the disappearance of 43 college students last month in the city of Iguala.
On Monday, hundreds of protesters set fire to vehicles and faced off with riot police outside a government complex in Chilpancingo and called on authorities to do more to locate the missing.
The missing students, freshman at a teachers college in the rural town of Ayotzinapa, were allegedly fired on by police after they attended a protest in Iguala a little over two weeks ago. Six died when police shot at a bus that the students had commandeered to drive back to their college. Dozens of other students who were at the protests disappeared and have not been heard from since.
State prosecutor Inaky Blanco has said the students were probably detained by police and that a local drug boss ordered them killed.
Several mass graves were discovered days after the incident, but authorities have not yet concluded whether the remains are those of the students.
Meanwhile, several police officers have been arrested. The mayor of Iguala, who is alleged to have connections to a powerful local drug cartel, has gone into hiding.
The U.S. Embassy in Mexico recently updated its travel warnings for Guerrero, suggesting that Americans “defer nonessential travel to all parts of the state” except for the cities of Acapulco and several other destinations. It cited Mexican government statistics that show Guerrero as the most violent state in the country last year, with 2,087 homicides and 207 kidnappings reported.