Three men detained in northern Zacatecas state as suspects in the Independence Day attack that killed seven and injured more than 100 were not involved, say federal investigators. The search continues for whoever lobbed two grenades into the celebrating Morelia crowd.
Witnesses say they saw a tall man throw a grenade, beg for forgiveness, and then leave the area. A composite sketch of a balding man with a mustache is circulating among the population. Also, someone supposedly representing La Familia, a Michoacan-based drug gang, called the local newspaper a week before the attacks, warning that grenades would be thrown at soldiers marching in the Sept. 16 parade. The attacks, however, were targeted at civilians and came the evening before the parade.
Officials have suspected that La Familia is responsible for the grenade attacks. Since President Felipe Calderon is a native of Morelia in the western state of Michoacan, the theory is that the attackers may be attempting to pressure the president to abandon his crackdown on organized crime.
La Familia, meanwhile, has allegedly taken to the streets in an effort to throw the blame on the Zetas, another drug gang. Someone hung several banners from Morelia pedestrian bridges in which they blamed Zeta hit men for the grenade attacks. Reporters and residents received similar messages on their cell phones.
"Coward is the word for those who attack the country’s peace and tranquility," read one of the signs. "Mexico and Michoacan are not alone. Thanks for your cowardly acts, Zetas. Sincerely, F.M." — the Spanish initials for "Michoacan Family."
Another read, "People of Mexico, don’t let them fool you, The Michoacan Family is with you and does not agree with acts of genocide.”
Rewards of $90 to $460 (US) have been offered to any citizen who provides information that leads to an arrest.