TIJUANA - Armed men burst into Ensenada's morgue Wednesday night and took the body of a man who died in a helicopter accident earlier this week. The group later killed two police officers who attempted to stop them.
The dead man taken from the morgue was identified as Pablo Gonzalez. It's unclear whether that's his real name or why such drastic measures were taken to recover his body.
Mexican media reported he was a suspected member of the region's Arellano Felix drug cartel.
The unusual events started Tuesday afternoon when a helicopter crashed south of Ensenada, along a road that connects the coastal city with the Valle de la Trinidad, according to Baja California authorities.
After getting tangled in electricity lines, the helicopter fell close to a route being used for the Baja 1000 race, forcing race participants to be re-routed, according to Tijuana's Frontera newspaper.
The helicopter reportedly had been following the race course. The event started in Ensenada Tuesday and ends Friday in Cabo San Lucas.
Two people were found dead: Gonzalez and a man identified as Ismael Romo Reyes. Two other people were injured and were being treated at an Ensenada hospital, according to state authorities.
Around 9 p.m. the next evening, armed men stormed Ensenada's morgue. They initially took two state social workers hostage as they grabbed Gonzalez's body, according to a news release from the state Attorney General's Office.
The unidentified workers were released and are in good health, according to Mexican authorities.
Mexican law enforcement officials pursued the group, and a shootout took place on the road that connects Ensenada to Tecate. Two city police officers were killed: Enrique Lemus Hinojosa and Salvador Gonzalez Quijano. The assailants escaped with Gonzalez's body.