The director of photography for Discovery Channel in Latin America was shot and killed in Acapulco, Guerrero, on Wednesday night.
According to police, the attack occurred at about 9:00pm after Erick Castillo Sánchez and his wife, Estefanía Carpio Ávila, arrived in their car at an Oxxo convenience store in the Zona Diamante district of the Pacific coast resort city.
When Castillo and Carpio walked out of the store, four men got out of a gray Ford pickup in the Oxxo parking lot and told the couple to get into their car.
“We’re not going to do anything to you,” the men reportedly said.
Carpio ran but Castillo was unable to escape and was shot in the head.
The Guerrero Attorney General’s Office said in a statement that the motive of the aggressors was to steal Castillo’s vehicle.
However, the press defense organization Periodistas Desplazados México (Displaced Journalists Mexico) asserted that the murder was a targeted attack rather than an unintended consequence of an attempted robbery.
Organization president Gildo Garza said in an interview that the fact that the aggressors didn’t steal anything and didn’t pursue Carpio supported that opinion.
“. . . They shot him in the temple but they didn’t take anything from him. Apart from that . . . his wife managed to flee, they didn’t chase her. They were going after him, there’s no other explanation,” he said.
The Mexican Association of Displaced and Attacked Journalists (AMPDA) also asserted that the attack on Castillo wasn’t part of an attempted robbery. The association demanded that all three levels of government carry out a joint investigation that is “corroborated and analyzed by the surviving victim, Estefanía Carpio Avila.”
Her evidence, AMPDA said in a statement, is crucial to determining if the homicide was part of a robbery or a premeditated attack.
The death of the 46-year-old cinematographer, who was on vacation with his wife after completing a Discovery Channel project, triggered an outpouring of emotion on social media.
The Mexican Association of Cinematography, Discovery Channel Latin America and the Mexican Institute of Cinematography (Imcine) were among the many organizations and individuals to mourn the passing of Castillo, who was originally from Chiapas but lived in Mexico City.
“. . . We lament the death of Erick Castillo, Discovery Channel photographer, collaborator on the film Roma and a distinguished member of our community. We share the pain of his family and friends. We join the call for justice,” Imcine wrote on Twitter.