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Mayor shot dead while at restaurant with 14-year-old son in Mexico

A mayor was shot dead in a restaurant in Mexico on Saturday, the regional prosecutor’s office said, the latest to date. politically motivated murder in a country plagued by violence and organized crime.

Guillermo Torres, 39, and his 14-year-old son were attacked in a restaurant in Morelia, the capital of the state of Michoacán, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement. His son survived.

He was elected mayor of the municipality of Churumuco in Michoacán as a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party in 2022, but recently left the party and publicly expressed sympathy for the ruling Morena, according to local media.

MEXICO-VIOLENCE-CRIME
Forensic staff and investigators from the prosecutor’s office are guarded by police as they conduct investigations at a restaurant where Guillermo Torres, municipal president of Churumuco, Tierra Caliente municipality in Morelia, Michoacan state, Mexico, was assassinated on March 30, 2024.

ENRIQUE CASTRO/AFP via Getty Images


Torres is the latest politician assassinated in Mexico ahead of the June 2 presidential elections, in which 20,000 local and federal positions and the entire Congress will be voted on.

Two mayoral candidates were assassinated February 26: Miguel Angel Zavala Reyes and Armando Pérez Luna of the Morena Party and National Action, respectively.

Last month, prosecutors in southern Mexico said the mayoral candidate

Tomas Morales was killed in the state of Guerrero, on the Pacific coast.

Between June 4, 2023 and March 26 this year, 50 people were murdered in “episodes of electoral violence,” including 26 targeting popular seats, according to a report by think tank Laboratorio Electoral.

Mexican drug cartels have often focused their assassination attempts on mayors and mayoral candidates, aiming to control local police or extort money from municipal governments.

The state of Michoacán, Mexico’s main avocado-producing region, is the scene of constant fighting between organized criminal groups, including the powerful Jalisco Next Generation Cartel.

Last month, a state police officer was would have been decapitated and his two bodyguards were killed in an attack on a highway in Michoacán.

Also in March, three farmers were killed by a bomb apparently planted in Michoacan. It came just days after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador acknowledged that an improvised explosive device killed at least four soldiers in what he called a “trap,” likely set by a Michoacán cartel.

Murders and kidnappings are commonplace in Mexico, where nearly 450,000 people have been murdered since 2006 in a spiral of drug-related violence, according to official data.

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