Dozens of armed villagers surrounded the home of a suspected crime gang in southern Mexico, setting off a gunbattle that killed a child, a woman and four men, authorities said Saturday.
The confrontation took place after a town assembly decided to arm 90 villagers and send them to threaten the group allegedly behind cattle thefts, rapes and murders, Oaxaca state's public security chief said in a statement.
The people in the house responded by opening fire first, security chief Marco Tulio Lopez said.
"When the suspected thieves saw the (villagers), the criminals shot at them, and the people responded because they were armed," he added.
Eleven-year-old Reynaldo Hernandez was killed in the crossfire in Santa Cruz Tepenixtlahuaca, a village about an eight-hour drive from the state capital, also called Oaxaca.
Two villagers were detained and police seized an arsenal of rifles and shotguns from those who engaged in the firefight, Lopez said.
Remote Mexican villages without much police presence sometimes engage in mob justice. But it is unusual for them to do so with weapons.