Maria Susana Flores Gamez, a 20-year-old Mexican beauty queen, was gunned down and killed during a shootout this past weekend in Sinaloa, a northern state plagued by drug-fueled violence.
According to authorities, Flores Gamez, who was the 2012 Woman of Sinaloa, was killed on Saturday after getting caught up in a gun battle between military troops and suspected criminals in the municipality of Mocorito. Two others were reportedly killed, CNN reported.
Sinaloa State Attorney General Marco Antonio Higuera told reporters on Monday that a rifle was recovered near the beauty queen’s body, but it was not clear whether she had fired it or who was responsible for shooting her.
"All we know is that it happened during a confrontation that the army had with criminals, and that she was with the group of criminals," he told reporters, according to a transcript from his office obtained by CNN.
Further reports indicate that four people were detained. Authorities seized various weapons, drugs and vehicles.
According to CNN, Flores Gamez was a student of communications before she was crowned Woman of Sinaloa in February. She beat out more than a dozen young women for the title.
A rising Woman of Sinaloa pageant star, Flores Gamez also participated in the 2012 Our Sinaloa Beauty contest.
Organizers of that pageant released a statement upon the news of her death, offering condolences to her family, who received her body on Monday.
"We are dismayed by the news -- a beautiful, young person, happy, and with a big future ahead of her," the pageant organizers said in a statement obtained by CNN. "Rest in peace Susy."
A similar incident made headlines in 2008 when Laura Zuniga, who was a beauty queen at the time, was detained by officials along with seven other men after traveling in two vehicles that contained AR-15 assault rifles, 38 specials, 9mm handguns, cartridges and $50,000 in cash. She was subsequently released.
CNN reports that more than 47,500 people have died in Mexico in drug-related violence since December 2006.
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