Angry business owners came to the rescue of the victims of a robbery in downtown Tijuana on May 15, pummeling an alleged thief on the face and head and holding him down until police arrived.
According to police and press accounts, the affray unfolded at about 10:30 p.m., before officers were summoned to reports of a fight outside a dental clinic on Avenida Francisco I. Madero. On arrival, officers said they found a bloodied man being held on the ground by a group of businessmen.
The man, said officers, had injuries to his face and head, including a three-inch gash on his skull. He was clutching a black, plastic bag in his left hand containing $42,760 pesos (about $3563) and $1245 in U.S. currency, allegedly stolen in an armed robbery minutes earlier.
Witnesses told police that the man, identified as Juan Antonio Bernal Meléndrez, 38, along with a female accomplice who managed to escape, had just robbed a pair of employees of a nearby business at gunpoint as they were leaving for the night with the day's proceeds.
The employees resisted the robbery, which resulted in one of them being pistol-whipped and another being shot in the hand, police said. During the scuffle, the pistol — believed to be a .38 revolver — fell to the ground but was recovered by the robber's accomplice, who ran away when she heard other business owners coming to their colleagues' aid.
After beating up the by-then-unarmed suspect, business owners held him on the ground by his hands and feet until police arrived.
Private gun ownership or possession is illegal in Mexico and constitutes a separate federal crime.