MEXICO CITY—Two Canadian tourists were killed and another wounded Friday by an armed assailant at a five-star hotel on Mexico’s Caribbean strip, local authorities said.

The shooting occurred midafternoon at the Hotel Xcaret Mexico in Playa del Carmen, some 40 miles south of Cancún.

“The three wounded people were taken immediately to hospital, where unfortunately one of them died,” Quintana Roo state security secretary Lucio Hernández Gutiérrez said via his Twitter account. “The three guests are of Canadian origin.”

State Attorney General Oscar Montes de Oca told Mexico’s Radio Fórmula that a second shooting victim later died at the hospital.

Mr. Hernández said the incident stemmed from an argument among hotel guests. He posted several images of a man in a sweatsuit—in one holding a phone, and in another brandishing a handgun. He said the person in the images was a hotel guest who fired the shots, and was being sought by security forces. He didn’t identify any of the victims.

Investigators at the scene of the resort shooting at a five-star hotel.



Photo:

STRINGER/REUTERS

The attorney general’s office said that according to Canadian police, the first victim had a history of criminal activity in Canada including robbery, drugs, and weapons offenses, and that the second victim also had a criminal record.

Canada’s foreign ministry said in a statement that consular officials were contacting local authorities to gather more information, following reports that Canadian citizens had been affected, but that no further information could be disclosed for reasons of privacy.

“Police, army and National Guard troops filled the hotel and closed off access,” said Vicente Carrera, the director of Noticaribe, a local news website, who was at the hotel. “It’s the first time that the aggressor in a shooting is a tourist.”

Grupo Xcaret said in a statement the shooting appeared to be a “targeted and isolated” incident, and that the hotel was helping authorities in their investigation.

It was at least the third time in recent months that violence has affected tourists on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, which includes such resorts as Cancún, Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

In early November, guests at the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancún hotel in Puerto Morelos rushed for safety when a heavily armed group of suspected drug dealers opened fire on rivals, leaving at least two dead. No tourists were seriously hurt in that confrontation, though one tourist was reported to have been hit over the head with a weapon.

In late October, two foreign tourists were killed and three others injured when they were caught in a crossfire between rival gangs in Tulum, a resort about 80 miles south of Cancún. The incident prompted the government to step up police and military security in the resort.

Gangs fighting turf wars in Mexican resorts have usually avoided tourist areas, though Cancún is among the cities in the country where residents feel the least secure, on par with several drug hot spots and the most crime-ridden suburbs of Mexico City, according to a survey by the National Statistics Institute.

Write to Anthony Harrup at anthony.harrup@wsj.com and José de Córdoba at jose.decordoba@wsj.com

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