Woman Killed in Beach Club Shootout at Resort City

A U.S. woman was tragically killed by a stray bullet during a shootout between rival drug dealers at a beach club in Tulum, a popular resort city in Mexico, according to local authorities. The woman, who was not involved in the drug-related dispute, was an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire.

The victim, a U.S. citizen, was not officially identified by the authorities. However, sources revealed to ABC News that the deceased was Niko Honarbakhsh, a 44-year-old woman originally from Los Angeles, who had been residing in Cancun, Mexico. The prosecutors in the state of Quintana Roo, where the incident occurred, emphasized that Honarbakhsh had no ties to a suspected drug dealer from Belize who was also killed in the Friday night violence.

Authorities dismissed a local report suggesting that Honarbakhsh was romantically involved with the slain suspected drug dealer. They pointed out that a photograph from the scene showed a different woman accompanying him.

The suspected dealer, known by the nickname “Belize,” was found with cocaine and pills at the time of his death. The state attorney general identified him as a probable participant in drug-related crimes and a member of a criminal group that has been causing violence in the state.

The police have identified suspects in the beach club shooting and are currently pursuing them. As of Monday, their identities have not been publicly disclosed.

This is not the first time that foreign tourists have been killed in drug-related shootouts in Tulum, which is located south of Cancun and Playa del Carmen. In 2021, California travel blogger Anjali Ryot and German citizen Jennifer Henzold were killed while dining at a restaurant, caught in the middle of a gunfight between rival drug dealers.

Tulum, once a peaceful resort city, has witnessed several drug-related shootouts that have resulted in the deaths of tourists. In response to the escalating violence, the U.S. State Department issued a travel alert last year, advising Americans to exercise increased situational awareness, particularly after dark, at Mexico’s Caribbean beach resorts like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.