The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board has released a statement addressing the shooting of a gay couple early the morning of Saturday, March 25.
According to Puerto Vallarta Daily News, at approximately 2:30 a.m. that morning a tourist and his husband were holding hands while walking home from a nightclub. While walking through Lázaro Cárdenas Park, a man standing nearby yelled something out them before pulling out a gun and shooting one of the tourists. While local authorities have been describing the incident as a robbery gone wrong, the tourists have said it was a hate crime, noting that they were never approached by the shooter or engaged in any confrontation.
“This was not a robbery that went wrong, it was a hate crime,” Marc Lange, one of the tourists, told The Yucatan Times. “We never talked to the man who shot us. He yelled at us and then he took out a gun and shot us. We told three different police officers the same story.”
In a statement to The Advocate, the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board said it has been monitoring the situation and has remained in contact with local police and authorities. The Tourism Board also claimed that Puerto Vallarta remains a safe destination for LGBTQ visitors, noting that more than 17,000 LGBTQ international visitors came to Puerto Vallarta for Vallarta Pride without incident, and that approximately 20 percent of visitors are part of the LGBTQ community.
“We believe this is a random and isolated incident, definitely not part of the daily life in Puerto Vallarta,” ACT LGBT President Armando Sanchez told The Advocate.
Jalisco state, which contains Puerto Vallarta, is currently rated Level 3: Reconsider Travel on the State Department’s four-level travel advisory system, due to violent crime and gang activity. At the same time, there are no restrictions on travel by U.S. government personnel within Puerto Vallarta itself.