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Mexican beauty queen shot dead

CULIACAN: A 22-year-old Mexican beauty queen killed during a gunfight between a suspected drug gang and soldiers appeared to have been used as a human shield, an official said Tuesday.

The soldiers reported that Maria Susana Flores Gamez was holding a weapon when she came out of the gang s car during the clash in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, said the official from the federal prosecutor s office.

The soldiers  report “does not say if she fired, only that they used her as a human shield” during Saturday s confrontation, the official, who had access to the defense ministry document, said on condition of anonymity.

The state prosecutor had stated on Monday that Flores, who held the title of Woman of Sinaloa 2012, was part of the gang and that an AK-47 was found next to her body after the shooting. A forensics test found gun residue on her body.

Two men and two women, including Flores, and a soldier died in the gunbattle in the municipality of Mocorito.

Mexican media say the brunette, who participated in the Miss Oriental Tourism pageant in China in May, was traveling with her boyfriend, a suspected hitman, when the shootout erupted. The boyfriend also died.

The armed group is linked to Orso Ivan Gastelum, alias “El Cholo Vago,” the suspected leader of a group of hitmen working for the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel.

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