If you can muster watching it, here is security camera footage of the Friday afternoon shooting on metro Balderas, on the north-bound platform of Line 3. At 5:14 p.m., a Metro police officer approaches a man who is scrawling graffiti on a wall. The man pulls out a gun and shoots the officer, killing him. The rush-hour crowd scatters instantly. In the confusion, a second man attempts to subdue the shooter, but he stumbles several times, and the assailant eventually fires into his head, ending his life.
Luis Felipe Hernández (who invoked God before starting to shoot at people) moves into the stalled train, still pointing his .38-caliber revolver at others. Commuters are seen being evacuated out of the station, in single-file against the walls. Minutes later, a plain-clothes police officer approaches the train, his weapon drawn. Shots are fired. Hernández is tackled.
Esteban Cervantes Barrera, the unarmed man who tried to stop Hernandez, had 5 children, Televisa said. He's being hailed as a hero, and the government says it will adopt his survivors. The officer killed has been identified as Víctor Miranda Martínez. He is being honored today at the Monumento de la Revolución. Now metal detectors will be used inside the system and 1,600 new officers are being added to the platforms. They will be armed.
There is a culture of violence in Mexico, definitely, but a crazy person randomly shooting people is not the sort of thing that happens here. To put it bluntly, that's an American thing. But something is shifting. A God-invoking Bolivian hijacked an Aeromexico flight last Wednesday between Cancun and Mexico City.
It's as though the collective madness of right now has been turned up a few notches. In the U.S., the extreme narco violence in Mexico is often (and unfairly) characterized as a creeping contagion "spilling" into the North. There's a flip-side to that. The U.S.-style violence of insanity, chaos, and senselessness is also being exported South. Along with everything else.
Yesterday when I first heard the news -- in a frantic call from a friend -- I was in a meeting near metro Patriotismo. I rushed out to try to make it to the scene. The metro was operating as normal. Then my train stalled in the tunnel just before the transfer point Centro Medico -- for a half-hour. Crowded shoulder to shoulder, in the hot tunnel, moisture on our skin from the rain, we stood ... and stood ... patient. When our train was finally cleared to the platform, a wall of people attempted to push into our car, while a few of us inside tried pushing out.
I'm not above trendy American-style outbursts, so I hollered, "Dejen salir!" and fought my way through, somehow losing a set of earphones in the crush. People were crammed on the platform, wall to lip; every transfer point with Line 3 had to have been screwed. I struggled to make it to the surface, deciding to just walk -- yet hundreds, maybe thousands of people were coming down into the station nonetheless.
They had to get home.
The craziness of U.S. violence may be arriving in Mexico, but the crazy American-style reactions to it don't appear to be.
We use the metro in Mexico City because it costs 2 pesos, moves quickly, gets you where you need to be, and is safe. If the city's 4.5-million daily metro riders can handle a typical Friday rush-hour commute, no armed lunatic thrown occasionally into the mix will stand in our way between Point A and Point B.