Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (CNN) -- A man was gunned down Thursday in front of children at an elementary school as they were leaving for the day, local officials and witnesses told CNN.
The shooting happened at 1 p.m. (3 p.m. ET), causing panic, witnesses said. Some parents waiting for their children at the time of the shooting also witnessed the attack.
The school issued a statement saying the shooting was coincidental and was not connected to the school.
The victim, 30, was shot nine times with a .45-caliber pistol by an unidentified gunman as he fled his attackers, according to the Chihuahua State Attorney General's Office. Witnesses said one attacker shot the victim inside the school next to a basketball court, while another attacker stood outside.
A team of forensic experts rushed to the scene to conduct a survey, but could not determine if the man was already wounded before he entered the school. Police said the suspects remain at large.
In the first nine months of 2011 there were 12,903 homicides in Mexico, according to official statistics. On Wednesday, the Mexican Attorney General's Office (PGR) said Juarez led the nation in homicides between January and September 2011, with a total of 1,206. Juarez saw a decline in the number of homicides in 2011, but is still considered to be a flashpoint in Mexico's drug cartel-related violence.
There have been 18 homicides in Juarez in the first 12 days of 2012.