Authorities tried to arrest El Chapo’s son, who is believed to be running the cartel now. All hell broke loose.
The state government said Mr Guzmán was found in a house by a police patrol on a routine search. It said cartel members subsequently launched the huge attack in an attempt to seize him back from the authorities. Fighters also attacked security forces in other parts of Culiacán.
Witnesses described scenes of panic in the city, a stronghold for the Sinaloa cartel, as families with small children fled from gunfire.
“No one knows what is going on but everyone is afraid and they have told us to not come in to work tomorrow,” Ricardo González, a city resident, told AP.
Footage on social media showed a pick-up truck with a machine gun mounted on the back, in scenes reminiscent of a war zone. Other footage showed families scrambling to take cover under cars and in shops as gunfire roared. In one video, a girl asked her father: “Why are they shooting bullets?”
Sinaloa state’s head of security, Cristobal Castañeda, told the Televisa network that two people had been killed and 21 injured, according to preliminary information.
Pictures showing what appeared to be dead bodies on the streets suggest the death toll could rise.
Some police officers were wounded, local officials said, but would not provide further details.
As fighting brought the city to a standstill, the Sinaloa state government said an unknown number of inmates had escaped from the Aguaruto prison.
It said it was “working to restore calm and order” and called on residents to “remain calm, stay off the streets and be very attentive to official advisories on the evolving situation”.