Gunmen have killed the mayor of the city of San Miguel Totolapan, in southwestern Mexico, and at least 18 others, officials have confirmed.
Police say gunmen attacked the city hall at 14:00 (19:00 GMT) on Wednesday, with photos posted online showing the building riddled with bullet holes, the BBC reports.
Mayor Conrado Mendoza Almeda’s party, the PRD, has condemned his “cowardly” assassination and demanded justice.
The attack has been blamed on the Los Tequileros criminal gang.
Police officers and council workers were also killed in the massacre, with graphic images of bloodied bodies lying on the ground circulating on social media.
Mendoza Almeda’s father, former mayor Juan Mendoza Acosta, was killed in his home before the attack moved to the city hall.
A highway in the state of Guerrero, where San Miguel Totolapan lies, was reportedly briefly blocked by large vehicles to prevent security forces from getting into the city.
In a preliminary report seen by local media, Guerrero’s attorney general said that 18 people were killed and three others were wounded.
Following the attack, the Ministry of National Defence said it was deploying army and navy units to the area to find the gunmen.
Guerrero Governor Evelyn Salgado Pineda tweeted to say she deeply regretted the deaths.
Shortly before the attack, alleged members of Los Tequileros released a video on social networks announcing its return to the region, where they had been fighting a rival drug gang.
The criminal group devastated Guerrero from 2015 through 2017 — and was known for threatening mayors of the region — until its leader, Raybel Jacobo de Almonte, was assassinated.
De Almonte was known as El Tequilero — the Tequila Drinker — and his gang adopted the name.