MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Two Mexican police officers who acted as guards for diplomats at the U.S. consulate in the northern city of Monterrey were killed while off duty, a U.S. official said on Saturday.
The two state police officers had worked for several years as guards escorting diplomats around the city that has been plagued with increasing drug gang-related violence, said Brian Quigley, a spokesman for the U.S. consulate in Monterrey.
"We all knew them, they were great guys and we are deeply saddened by their deaths," Quigley said. "It is too early to comment on the circumstances of their killing, but we are working with Mexican authorities."
Local media reported two officers were gunned down on Friday afternoon while driving down a busy street in the Monterrey suburb of Guadalupe. The area has been the scene of frequent drug-gang related executions and several police killings.
Monterrey, once considered one of Latin America's safest cities and a top regional business center, has seen a dramatic spike in violence since last year, when a split between two local drug cartels turned to all-out war.
Gunmen threw a grenade at the U.S. consulate in Monterrey in 2008 and the U.S. government told staff to send their children out of the city in August last year after an attack outside an elite private school.
(Reporting by Michael O'Boyle)