A night out of music and dancing quickly turned into gunfire and bloodshed near Guatemala City, Guatemala, leaving at least eight people dead, according to AFP. At least 20 more were wounded in an overnight attack at a nightclub in Villa Nueva, Guatemala, just south of the country's capital city.
El Diario de Hoy reports that men armed with automatic weapons entered the club and fired on the crowd indiscriminately. A spokesperson for the National Police (Policía Nacional Civil) told EFE that three men entered El Ranchón, a nightclub in Villa Nueva, around midnight and opened fire. According to NDTV, five M16 assault rifles were found abandoned at the scene, with no immediate suspects or indication of motive.
This attack is one of the first tests for Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina, who took office Jan. 14 and has sworn to fight violence in Guatemala with "an iron fist" and with the help of the Army, according to the EFE report.
Guatemala City has struggled with violence in recent times, narrowly missing the top 10 of the most violent cities in the world -- the Guatemalan capital ranks no. 12. Authorities attribute the spike in violence to the presence of youth gangs and narcotraffickers operating throughout the country, according to EFE.