Words: Jessica Howard
The closing party of The BPM Festival in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, has been hit by tragedy following a mass shooting that has seen at least four people killed and 15 injured.
The gunfire took place in the early hours of Monday January 16 at the Elrow closing party at Blue Parrot.
The BPM (Bartenders, Promoters, Musicians) Festival is a ten-day electronic music festival hosted by different record labels and promoters across various venues in Playa del Carmen.
Melbourne resident Nicholas Fincher, who is currently travelling throughout North America with friends, described the incident to Autosea, stating that he heard gunshots at around 3am.
Photo taken by Nicholas Fincher minutes before the shooting occurred.
“I was dancing with my good mate that I have been travelling with when a handful of shots went off, but they didn’t sound like proper gun shots, but more like a cap gun,” he said.
“Within about five seconds everyone hit the deck. The lights came on and the music was lowered. After about 30-seconds on the floor people were starting to convince each other it was just fireworks or a prank, until the gun fire started back up.
“As soon as this happened a lady yelled “Run!”, which started a stampede towards the back fence”.
As festival-goers scrambled towards the exit, Nick helped his friend off the floor to avoid being trampled.
“Eventually he was up and moving towards the back fence; the guy in front of him threw himself over the fence and landed face first on the rocks, and so did a lot of other people. My friend did the same, landing on his leg awkwardly, which resulted in a hospital visit and crutches for the next couple of weeks.
“Once we were both on the other side of the fence we ran all the way to our hotel, stopping briefly to catch a breath. The gun fire continued once we got back, and ten minutes from the initial gun fire, sirens started going for the next hour or so”.
The fence punters scrambled over in search for safety.
In an official statement released by The BPM Festival, four fatalities were confirmed, including the death of three members of the BPM security team. “It is with great sadness to share that police have confirmed reports of a lone shooter outside the Blue Parrot nightclub in Playa Del Carmen earlier today,” the statement read.
“The violence began on 12th street in front of the club and three members of the BPM security team were among those whose lives were lost while trying to protect patrons inside the venue.
“We are overcome with grief over this senseless act of violence and we are cooperating fully with local law enforcement and government officials as they continue their investigation.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and their families and all those affected by these tragic events”.