By The Star Staff
Five people were killed in an apparent drive-by shooting in Ceiba on Monday night, forcing authorities to close a portion of the PR-53 expressway, police said Tuesday.
Officers described the killing as the first massacre of the year.
Three of the victims were found dead inside a Toyota Tundra pickup in the eastern coastal town of Ceiba, while a fourth was found on the pavement. A fifth victim died at Caribbean Hospital in Fajardo while being treated for his wounds, according to a police statement.
One of the victims is a 16-year-old boy, Police Chief Antonio López Figueroa told a local radio station. He said weapons were found inside the bullet-riddled pickup, and that the victims had just left a cock-fighting establishment in the nearby town of Naguabo.
It wasn’t immediately clear what led to the shooting that occurred at Exit 5 on PR-53 at around 9:40 p.m. Monday, although López Figueroa said authorities believe it was related to drug trafficking.
At least 28 people have been reported killed so far this year in Puerto Rico, compared with 30 in the same period last year.
PR-53 between Ceiba and Fajardo was closed in both directions Tuesday while the authorities worked the crime scene.
Drivers were encouraged to use alternate routes.