Banda MS Says Singer's Shooting Was Not a Murder Attempt: 'We Have No Ties to Drug Trafficking'

 AP Photo/Alan Diaz
Members of the musical group Banda Sinaloense MS de Sergio Lizarraga pose with the Regional Mexican Songs Artist of the Year Award, during the Latin Billboard Awards on April 28, 2016 in Coral Gables, Fla.

A day after its lead singer Alan Ramirez was shot in the neck near Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City, Banda MS played its third sold out show at the venue.

“We have no ties to drug trafficking. We’ve always been known as a healthy band,” singer Oswaldo Silva said on stage the evening of July 3, repeating what he said earlier in the day during a press conference.

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By “healthy” (the word used in Spanish was “sana”), Silva meant Banda MS has never been associated with drug issues or organized crime, although the band does perform narcocorridos as part of its repertoire. But Silva’s emphasis on Banda MS being a “healthy” group is important in a country where dozens of artists have either been killed or wounded as a result of drug-related violence.

“We’re a group that’s grown properly, and we always said there was no reason for us to take precautions because we owed nothing to anyone,” Silva said on stage. “Of course we never thought of getting protection because you guys love us. But I think not everyone does and something terrible happened. Out of respect for you, we’re playing here tonight. We were going to cancel, but our friend Alan said, ‘No, please the show has to happen.’ We are here tonight at Alan’s request.”

Alan Ramirez was shot early Saturday morning leaving Auditorio Nacional in the heart of Mexico City, after the band played the second of its three sold-out shows there. 

According to reports, Ramirez left the venue with a few other band members and was on his way to the nearby Hotel Presidente to see his wife when a bullet pierced the van’s back window and hit him in the neck. Ramirez was quickly taken to Hospital Español where he was stabilized and continues to recover.

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During the press conference, Silva said the group didn't believe the shooting was attempted murder. “It was definitely not a murder attempt,” he said. “We know Alan, everyone knows what kind of person he is. We think it’ someone who wanted to do some mischief.”

Police haven’t released any reports on their findings yet but have been interviewing several witnesses, and security at and around Auditorio Nacional was heavier than usual Saturday night.

Banda MS is one of the most successful groups in regional Mexican music right now and their current album, Qué Bendición, is currently at No. 10 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart.

The attack on Ramírez, in the heart of an upscale area of the city, was surprising even in Mexico, where many regional Mexican singers have been shot at or murdered in the past decade.

Banda MS has not been involved in violence before. We have nothing to hide,” Silva said. “We have no secrets.”

Teresa Aguilera contributed to this report from Mexico City.