Mexican reporter Jose Gerardo Martinez was murdered on Friday, making him the 13th journalist to be killed in the Latin American country since the beginning of 2017.
The journalist’s death was only one of many to transpire early into 2018, with a total of 32 murders reported within a 48-hour period from Thursday to Friday. According to police, 23 of these occurred in Ciudad Juarez, seven in Chihuahua and two more in Bocoyna and Cuauhtemoc. Five of the victims were women.
Stepping out into the cold Friday night in Mexico City, Martinez would never have thought a run to the local convenience store might be his last. The El Universal journalist was reportedly venturing out on the eve of the Epiphany to purchase toys celebrating the holiday for his children.
As Martinez was walking, a pair of gunmen approached him with the intention of robbery and shot him in the stomach, police said in a report. He was transferred to a nearby hospital and died shortly after. Investigations remain underway, the Attorney General’s Office assures.
Police said the most recent homicide is not believed to be in connection to the victim’s work.
Investigators have connected a number of the deaths to gang-related violence, specifically from Los Mexicles, Gente Nueva and Los Aztecas, Juarez Public Security Secretary Ricardo Realivazquez Dominguez said.
Despite the high number of homicides, local administration in Juarez denies a lack of control over the situation, attributing the raging violence in their city to inter-cartel conflicts.
Such a high rate of murders within the first week of the new year does not bode well for 2018, after numerous reports show 2017 close with more than 26,500 people killed between January and November – only 700 less than in 2011, the deadliest year on record so far, according to new statistics released late Friday.