Police: Stray Bullet Killed Boy in Mexico Theater

9:29 AM PST 11/14/2012 by John Hecht

Detectives discard theory that a shooter was inside the Mexico City Cinepolis theater building.

MEXICO CITY -- Police are saying that a 10-year-old boy shot and killed in a Mexico City theater was the victim of a stray bullet fired from outside the multiplex.

Initially, a coroner's report said Hendrik Cuacuas was shot at close range, suggesting the shooter was inside the theater on Nov. 2 during a screening of Disney's Wreck-It Ralph. But the stray bullet explanation seems much more plausable since no one in theater actually heard a gunshot when the incident occurred.

Detectives said the 9-mm bullet pierced the Cinepolis theater's rooftop and then struck Cuacuas in the head. It's not clear why it took investigators 10 days to inspect the theater's roof. Police found a second 9-mm bullet on the roof but they are not sure if it's from the same gun.

The boy's father, Enrique Cuacuas, described the incident in an interview with Radio W. He said his son 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 the boy convulsing and bleeding from the head. At that point, he realized his son had been shot. The child was rushed to a hospital in critical condition, but he died two days later.

Cuacuas told the radio station he heard there had been similar incidents in the past in the same theater.

Pablo Jimenez, head of Cinepolis' legal department, told Foro TV he was aware of only one such incident "also difficult to explain…in which a person received an injury to the foot." When asked if that injury was the result of a gunshot, he said he didn't know.

Police are still searching for the shooter. Some local dailies have speculated that the bullet may have been fired into the air during a celebration. The southern Mexico City neighborhood of Ermita is also an area prone to gang activity.

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