The drug cartel wars in Mexico have killed as many as 60,000 people in the last six years (!!) so you might expect Mexicans to be a little jaded when it comes to murder. But just how jaded? Well, a 10-year-old was shot in the head and killed during a Wreck-It Ralph screening last week, and after they carted him out, THEY KEPT PLAYING THE REST OF THE MOVIE.
According to an ongoing police investigation and local media reports, the shooting occurred Nov. 2 while young Hendrik Cuacuas, accompanied by his father and sister, were watching the animated Disney film Wreck-It-Ralph in a southern Mexico City theater.
The boy’s father, Enrique Cuacuas, told investigators and radio station Radio W that the child was sitting on his right side in a full theater when about a half-hour into the screening he heard something whiz past his ear, followed by the sound of a thud. He then turned to his right and saw his son convulsing and bleeding from the head. At that point, he realized his son had been shot. The boy was rushed to a hospital in critical condition but died two days later.
An autopsy report revealed that the child was shot from a distance of about four to six feet and it said the bullet entered the front of his head. However, adding to the general confusion, the coroner was quoted as saying that the shooter was not necessarily standing in front of the victim. [Or maybe it was the chupacabra. What am I, a doctor?]
Even stranger, the boy’s father and others in the theater said they heard no gunshots. Without offering proof, Cuacuas told Radio W that he learned there had been similar incidents in the past in the same theater. [THR]
Sad yet? Oh, it gets worse.
Unbeknownst to Cuacuas, someone in a row in front of his family had fired a gun at his son’s head. For an unknown reason, the shot produced neither a loud report nor a muzzle flash.
Upon feeling blood on his son’s head, Cuacuas took action.
“I stood up and said, ‘No one leaves here until this is cleared up. I’m going for the manager,’” Cuacuas said.
Employees stopped the film and turned on the lights. A gurney arrived but it was not immediately clear that the boy had been shot, only that he was in convulsions and bleeding from the head. Some of the 274 people crowding the theater shouted at Cuacuas for interrupting the show.
Wow. I hate crying babies as much as the next guy, but I tend to temper my anger when the baby in question is BLEEDING FROM THE HEAD.
Cuacuas recalled that they said “maybe I was the one who hurt him.”
The family accompanied the wounded boy to the basement of the Plaza Ermita center. When a Red Cross ambulance failed to arrive, a theater employee took the boy in his own vehicle to a nearby hospital. He was transferred later in the evening to better-equipped hospital.
Lucky that employee was there, those ambulance drivers were a real bunch of Mexican’ts. (Sorry).
The legal director for Cinepolis, Pablo Jimenez, said Tuesday that none of those in the theater heard a gunshot, defending the chain from criticism for continuing the film.
“There was never any panic or anything like that, and that’s why we didn’t suspend the showing. There wasn’t information available that would make us think that we ought to take this kind of action,” Jimenez said. [McClatchy]
Of course, there are no answers as of yet, only questions and outrage and confusion. Anyway, it’s something to think about next time you’re about to bitch about seven-dollar popcorn.
UPDATE: As per commenter Watanabex, who speaks much better Spanish than me, it seems that they’ve determined that the bullet came from some guys who’d shot their guns up into the air (they way I imagine Mexicans celebrate everything), and one of the bullets eventually ran out of steam and fell back to Earth, puncturing the theater roof and hitting the child in the head. I don’t know if that makes this more or less depressing, but maybe they should think about building stronger roofs.