View of facade of the nightclub where 14 people were killed in an early Saturday shootout, in Fortaleza, northeastern Brazil, on January 27, 2018. Local authorities declared the cause of the shootout allegedly was a reckoning among drugdealers. / AFP PHOTO / Rodrigo CARVALHO (Photo credit should read RODRIGO CARVALHO/AFP/Getty Images)

Rio de Janeiro | A shooting in a popular ball in Fortaleza, in northeastern Brazil, has killed at least 14 people in the night from Friday to Saturday, authorities said, while local media report a settlement between drug traffickers.

“We can confirm 14 deaths, knowing that some people are still in serious condition in the hospital,” said at a press conference André Costa, Secretary of State Security of Ceara, Fortaleza is the capital, without specifying the number of wounded.

A spokesman for the Jose Frota Institute, the city’s main hospital, told AFP that six people had been admitted to the ER, including a 12-year-old boy.

The site of the regional daily Diario do Nordeste quoted a police source as referring to a settling of accounts between two rival factions of drug traffickers.

“We are not yet able to confirm whether this is a clash between factions, the investigation is ongoing,” said the Secretary of Security.

The shooting took place around 1:30 am, when a group of heavily armed men arrived in three vehicles and burst into Forro do Gago (the Portuguese stutter ball), in the Cajazeiras district, at Fortaleza center.

“It’s a brutal scene, a massacre. Never seen in Ceara, “said another police officer who wished to remain anonymous, quoted by the G1 news site.

On Jan. 7, the drug gang’s war had already killed four people in a settling of accounts in the suburbs of Fortaleza.

The worst massacre of this kind before Saturday’s was on November 12, 2015, when 12 people were killed in the night.

In 2017, the state of Ceara recorded a record 5,144 homicides, 50% more than in 2016.

At the national level, Brazil recorded a record in 2016 with 61,619 homicides, an average of seven per hour.