US tourist shot dead by gang gunfire at Mexico City resort: ‘I thought that was it’


Tanner Vanvalkenburg said “it will be very different if I travel again”.

Tanner Vanvalkenburg is speaking out after he was shot while vacationing at a popular resort in Mexico late last week, caught in the crosshairs of rival gangs.

“I was just like, man, this is it, like I’m probably not going to make it,” he recalled to ABC News.

The American tourist was with his girlfriend and two friends when the incident began.

“We were eating tacos and that’s when I started hearing gunshots,” he said.

The gunmen headed for the shore outside a Hyatt Resort just south of Cancun and opened fire.

The shooting left two Americans dead and four injured. The armed suspects initially escaped, but local authorities confirmed to ABC News on Friday that they had five people in custody.

“We thought it was fireworks, then some started exploding and everyone started panicking and running,” Vanvalkenburg said. “That’s when I left and we all jumped in the pool.”

The melee sent tourists rushing for cover as some hid under pool chairs.

“Just as I jumped into the water, I went to dive and that’s when the ball hit. And as soon as the bullet hit me, I stood up … and I was holding the bullet wounds while I was bleeding, putting on as much pressure as I could because I knew I had just been hit,” Vanvalkenburg explained. .

“Honestly, I thought I was going to die because I thought the gunmen were basically going to come in and kill everyone [who] was there at the station,” he said.

Vanvalkenburg was taken to a local hospital and then released.

Hyatt told ABC News “the safety and well-being of guests and colleagues is always a top priority.”

Now recuperating back home in Utah, Vanvalkenburg said the incident made him reconsider the way he travels.

“I never thought in a million years that I should worry about my life sitting in a resort,” he said. “So it’s going to be very different now if I travel again.”


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