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.