Bradley in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo in 2016. Bradley in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo in 2016.

Backlash after victim linked to drug use

California mayor issues rebuke, says dead man's only addiction was surfing

The death of a California man in Ixtapa, Guerrero, and suggestions by state authorities that his murder could be linked to drug addiction has led to a rebuke from the mayor of the city where the deceased worked and a backlash against Mexico on social media.


Douglas Bradley, 49, was shot and killed in the early hours of last Thursday morning in the city’s hotel zone.

Guerrero Governor Héctor Astudillo subsequently released a statement alleging that Bradley “could have an addiction to toxic substances.”

State security spokesman Roberto Álvarez Heredia said via press release that the investigation would consider the possibility that the administrative services director from Imperial Beach, California, was a drug addict.

In a statement released last night, Álvarez said the state Attorney General’s office was reconstructing every movement made by the victim. One line of investigation being considered is that Bradley’s murder could be connected to an argument in a local bar.

“A witness indicated that the deceased went to a well-known bar where he contracted the services of a sex worker with whom he apparently had a disagreement. The aforementioned line [of investigation] will be exhausted to confirm or refute the veracity of the collected testimonies,” the statement said.

“. . . What’s most important is to get to the bottom of this matter and determine what happened and find those presumed responsible for this crime,” Álvarez said.


After a reporter from news magazine Proceso shared Astudillo’s addiction insinuation with him on Twitter, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina defended his former colleague, suggesting that the nature of Bradley’s addiction was much more innocent.

“And I declare my addiction to the waves of Mexico in BC [Baja California], BCS [Baja California Sur], Michoacán, GRO [Guerrero] and Oaxaca — like Doug,” he wrote.

In another post, he wrote that “Doug Bradley lived in Playas de Tijuana, surfed all over Mexico and crossed the border every day to work at the City of Imperial Beach. He was a true border resident.”  In a previous statement he said that “Doug Bradley was loved by all that knew him.”

The mayor has also posted a series of tributes to Bradley on his personal Twitter account.

“RIP Doug Bradley — grew up in HB [Huntington Beach], worked and surfed the city of Imperial Beach.  Mahalo [thank you] and Aloha Doug!!!” read one.

The mayor also retweeted a post from another Twitter user who sent a scathing message to the official government of Guerrero account.

“It’s easier for you to stigmatize deaths than to investigate, that way you get your people to shelve [the investigation] before justice should be applied,” the reposted tweet read.

The victim’s sister, Cheryl Bradley, also denied that her brother was a drug user, saying that “he absolutely did not do drugs. He helped other people get off drugs, this was something he was very passionate about.”

She is scheduled to meet Guerrero Attorney General Javier Olea Peláez tomorrow to formally identify and claim Bradley’s body.

However, in an interview yesterday morning, Bradley complained that she had been getting conflicting reports from Guerrero authorities about the incident. A government spokesman, however, said that “the governor has asked the prosecutor’s office to make a priority of the investigation and the return of the body.”

Several other people also took to social media to add their condolences and express anger at insecurity and violence in Mexico.

Among the tweets posted in response to the news of Bradley’s murder were “I wouldn’t let my dog vacation there [in Guerrero]” and “Build that wall! Trump got it right, [Mexicans are] murderers and rapists.”

“Doug was one of my dearest friends . . . We are heartbroken that the place he loved most in the world, Mexico, would take him from us. I will never return to Mexico again,” wrote Kim Ewald of Lake Havasu, Arizona.

Bradley’s death was one of almost 3,000 in the violent southern state last year.

Source: El Sur (sp), The San Diego Union Tribune (en)

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  • tigre bengala

    So, were murderers and rapists, what a lame, brainless and shitty response, so in that case, all gringos are drug addicts, mass murderers, racists and pedophiles huh?

    • Garry Montgomery

      I guess . . . (and poor readers and TV addicts)

      • tigre bengala

        Lazy, obnoxious and panhandling bums, I could add a couple more if you’d like?

        • David Nichols

          Nobody at this point knows what happened, or why it happened; but that doesn’t stop them from throwing in their hypothesis…
          Then come the people to attack any ideas advanced to explain this sad event, and it becomes a pissing contest to see who can win the insult war…
          Could we just remember that a man was murdered, and wait and see if the authorities make a diligent effort to identify and prosecute the perpetrator/s…?

        • Garry Montgomery

          Your call . . .

  • Mike S

    He was unmarried and had no kids and chose to live near the beach in Tijuana and commute to California. He was out in a bar in the middle of the night soliciting a prostitute with whom he had an argument? Was he gay? Many Mexicans have very intolerant attitudes towards gays. No excuse for this kind of crime, but there are lots of details we don’t know about. It doesn’t sound like random violence. I hope there is some justice here. Certainly the authorities will do a blood test for alcohol and drugs?

    • Mike Cranny

      Makes me wonder if the claim by the authorities has any validity. A more likely alternative was that was made up to take the heat off and blame the victim.

      • Mike S

        No matter what the victim did, nobody deserves this and the perpetrators need to be caught and brought to justice. Having said that, so far there is no explanation whatsoever on the motive. Very very few gringo tourists are ever targeted for crimes like this. As someone who visits Mx often and usually for long periods, a thorough understanding of this whole sad episode is of great interest to me and other tourists and expats. I love the Zihuatenejo area and hope it’s not turning into another Acapulco.

      • DreadFool

        remember los 43, historic truth….

  • I like living in Mexico very much, but I would never expect efficiency from law enforcement. Or even straight-shooting.

    • cooncats

      No efficiency and precious little honesty. In Mexico you are responsible for your own security. Being out at night in bars is not a great prescription for that security.

      • Hailey Mannering

        It obviously depends on whether one is in a safe part of Mexico or not.

        • cooncats

          There is no safe part of Mexico. Particularly if one chooses to hang out in bars at night.

          • BB

            You are so wrong and ill-informed.

          • cooncats

            And you are hopelessly naive.

          • BB

            I’ve been there. Granted, I don’t drink, so no need for me to hang around bars. But with the millions of other drinking tourists that go there annually without incident, I would say Mexico is not Chicago or Detroit.

          • Crewlaw

            Then there is no ‘safe part’ of the U.S. either. Particularly if one chooses to drive on the highways, or attend school or church or a concert, since it is a proven fact that these are places where one can be shot.


            l have lived in Mexico for 12 years, and other than one incident at 5:00 AM on the way to work in 2006, I’ve had zero problems. I don’t frequent bars in the late night hours, I don’t hire sex-workers, I don’t do drugs, I don’t hang out with people or in places where bad things can happen.
            I would do the same if I lived in any area of the world.
            Please don’t blame Mexico for something that can happen anywhere in the world.

          • cooncats

            Couldn’t agree more. We have lived here 10 years, zero problems.

          • Paul Wilkins

            There are safe parts of Mexico ! Where do you get your info from ? The same person who told you that Mexico consists of “counties”? Why are you living in a place you don`t feel safe in ?

          • cooncats

            Why don’t you try addressing the topic? And BTW this story has been updated and indeed this poor fellow engaged in pretty unsafe behavior and paid the price. And BTW have no idea where you got that “counties” business, do you drink when you post? That’s also unsafe behavior, tends to lead the practitioner to make a fool of oneself.

  • Mason

    When you play with fire enough you eventually get burned.

    • DreadFool

      when you burn enough you got played

  • Commander Barkfeather

    Advice to official spokespersons: until you know a thing to be true, shut up. Absolutely nothing is gained from premature speculation but resentment.

  • Garry Montgomery

    I guess an autopsy might help prove or disprove his drug use and maybe the sex worker could shed some light on the goings on . . .


      He could have been drugged in the bar. So i would not go by the results of the blood test….. that happens a lot to rob foreign client. put something in there drinks…. then the scam to say he got services and did not pay. i know this happens a lot in many country’s that entertain tourists. but sad he was robbed even if i would not have been out that late ever in any country.

      • Garry Montgomery

        And you believe your own words, obviously. Have you been to all of those countries where you know it happens or do you read novels?

        • Juan Gonzalez

          Gary, this can and does happen in most countries included the USA.

          • Garry Montgomery

            Juan, of course it does but Mexico should not be the whipping boy. Tourists need to accept responsibility for their own safety and not have the world blaming Mexico because some surfer dude put himself in a precarious situation

    • Gary Blake

      does the Pope wear a funny hat, and does a bear poop in the woods? AND we are inferring what? He was looking to buy sex and got killed by a sex worker or perhaps her “Chulo”?
      Guy was mugged and his shit stolen!

      • Garry Montgomery

        Well, the Pope and his henchmen do wear dresses and kiss each others’ rings and get their jollies from young children . . . but what does the Pope have to do with a guy who visited Mexico so regularly he could hardly be called a “tourist”?

  • Eugene Nero

    Well, it’s typically Mexican for the official to assassinate the character of the dead American. I mean, what else can he say? I was stopped 4 months ago and the police wanted to throw me in jail because of all the band aids on my hands and arms. He accused me of being a drug addict, when in fact I use anticoagulant for atrial fibrillation. My blood is like water, so if my dog plays with me and scratches me, i bleed like a beet. Anyway, believe you me. Here in Mexico, if an American calls the police, OFTEN the police’s only target is the American. Forget the aggressor. They’re only goal is to sniff out the dirt on the American complainer and to blood suck. So, no they’re not all rapists and murderers. COMO DECIMOS AQUI EN ENSENADA, SON LACRA, MALANDROS Y LADRONES. That said, a 49 year old American on the street at 4AM in a Mexican drug was zone. He was looking for a bullet.

  • Gary Blake

    Fact, man travels to Ixtapa, man is gunned down and killed in Ixtapa.
    Fact, Mexico cheerleaders all come out and exercise the well rehearsed training speech, guy was into/buying drugs, guy was chasing whores. The body was still warm.
    One poster notes or bets he was not there to surf, ooooops, he was.
    Several claim he was no tourist ooops he was.
    Issue strangely heats up when guy is not a nobody, but a somebody, oooops.
    There to “Catch some waves” Surf, another blooper, be careful!
    As is standard police get involved, mayor, governor and say the guy was a druggy, chasing hookers, and they have a witness, that and 20 pesos = one shot of tequila.
    Did’nt we here this before? Well if you are experiencing “deja vu” it’s because that is the standard discredit line used by the cheerleaders, boosters and government of Mexico when a tourist is killed.
    The headline proclaims “Murder victim Linked to drug Use”, YET no where in the story does it say that.
    Fact is 78% of the American and Canadian published stories on this case say motive was robbery, a mugging gone wrong, stolen were his cell phon,e equiv of 200 USD in pesos, and few other things.
    Here is another factoid, Mexico has a huge and ever growing drug tourist trade, oh and GET THIS drug dealers don’t kill their customers, unless you don’t pay, hookers don’t kill their Johns either! Not if they want referrals and repeat business anyway, LOL!
    Guy lives in TJ, he did not do anything in TJ, he would not have done in safe Ixtapa, by the way still billed on TA as the safest place in Mexico, by Canadians of all people and things, Tijuana on the other hand? Billed as one of the most dangerous places there is. NO ONE will disagree there.
    Go figure that one, got a headache, I sure do!
    PS note on ANY post on Mexico, any forum on Mexico, when someone asks “is MEXICO safe” they are all told stay away from drugs and you will be ok, INFERRING all the problems people have, tourist deaths, muggings robberies are caused by the tourist themselves, because “they were into drugs” a way of blaming and slandering those who gave their lives in safe Mexico.
    The first thing far to many cruise passengers do on landing at a Mexican Port is buy dope, the cruise lines keep it off the ships. And they find a ready supply too!

  • DreadFool

    1/3 of all death of American tourists abroad each year occur in Mexico. that’s a fact.