MEXICO CITY – A homemade bomb that killed one person and wounded two near Mexico City's police headquarters was likely the work of organized crime and not leftist rebels, police said. The bomb exploded about 50 yards (50 meters) from the Mexico City police compound Friday afternoon, breaking windows and damaging cars in the vicinity, part of a popular tourist area. Blocks away, high-rise buildings shook along the capital city's central Reforma avenue.
It exploded in the hands of a man between the age of 25 and 30, who has not been identified, killing him and wounding two people nearby, police chief Joel Ortega said. It was not clear if the dead man was responsible for the bomb or if he simply picked up the package, which was inside a plastic bag, from the sidewalk.
Ortega said the explosive contained gunpowder, pieces of metal and pellets.
No group claimed responsibility for the blast, which came as Mexico's government fights violent drugs gangs and small rebel groups that have set off explosives outside banks and blown up pipelines belonging to the state-owned oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos.
"It is possible that organized crime is linked to the attack," said Rodolfo Felix, Mexico City's top prosecutor, at a news conference.
The federal attorney general's office said in a statement that based on initial information "the act cannot be attributed to armed or subversive groups."
Ortega said because of the type of injuries found on the dead man, police suspect he was "carrying the explosive in his right hand."
A 22-year-old woman, who Ortega said knew the man killed, suffered serious burns. A 29-year-old man had minor wounds.
Minutes after the blast, police officers dressed in riot gear swarmed and cordoned off the area.
Ortega said investigators believe the explosive was activated remotely by a cell phone.
A police official who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with department policy identified the injured woman as Tania Vazquez and the wounded man as Javier Gonzalez.
Vazquez, who is in stable condition, remained at a hospital guarded by police. Gonzalez was taken to police headquarters so he could talk to investigators, Ortega said.
Sol Jimenez, a woman who was in a building across the street from the site of the explosion, said the blast "was so strong it made the window tremble."
Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard condemned the explosion and said police have boosted patrols.
In recent weeks, police have announced the arrest in Mexico City of several alleged members of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel, and the seizure of several large weapons caches, including grenades and high-powered rifles.