A group of men opened fire on crowds at the Playa Palmilla beach in the resort city of San José del Cabo in Mexico, killing three people and injuring two others Sunday, reports said.

The incident was recorded on video by tourists who were visiting the popular beach in Southern Baja California. Although the video is shot from a distance, automatic gunfire can be clearly heard. Smoke from the guns can also be seen rising from the beach.  

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A Facebook post by the page Zona Roza — a neighborhood in Mexico City — posted pictures of the aftermath of the shooting that showed bodies strewn on the beach.

According to a report by Mexican newspaper El Universal (in Mexican), a group of armed men arrived at the site around 2 p.m. UTC and fired at pointblank range, killing three men who were sitting under a palm tree. The barrage of bullets also hit a man and a woman who were in close range and caused them injuries. They were taken to the hospital by emergency services. The five were not identified at the time of publishing this report. 

Eyewitnesses told SBS that tourists frantically fled the beach when the shooting started. The BBC quoted a tourist who was on the beach at the time of the attack as saying: "We heard the shots and just ran to get somewhere safe; it was automatic weapons fire.”

Reports stated the beach was a haven for tourists — both Mexicans and foreigners — and police had to evacuate large crowds following the shooting in order to carry out investigations.

Although the motive behind the attack is not known and no related arrests were made at the time of publishing this story, it is suspected that this assault is the latest in the turf war between various cartels for drug distribution in Baja California. 

According to Fox News, the frequent incidents of bloodshed in the area are blamed on clashes between the two most powerful cartels — the Sinaloa drug cartel and the rival Jalisco New Generation cartel. There is also a certain degree of fighting between factions of the same groups, including Sinaloa.

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This spike in violence in Baja California — which developed into a tourist area between 2002 and 2013 — is thought to be linked to the capture of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzman of the Sinaloa cartel, who moved to the area to take advantage of the relative freedom it offered.

A BBC report in July quoting government records said that 188,567 murders were recorded in Mexico from December 2006 to May 2017, linked to the violence caused by these cartels. In Los Cabos alone, more than 230 people have died so far this year. The military was brought in to fight organized crime in 2006. More than 30,000 people have gone missing since then.

The shooting on Palmilla beach comes after the bodies of 11 men and three women were discovered in a mass grave very close to the same resort city.