A México state fruit and juice vendor was laid to rest Tuesday after he was shot dead Saturday for refusing to make an extortion payment.
Genaro Lozano Morales was one of three people killed after he refused to hand over another payment to a gang of criminals that arrived at his street stand in Tlalnepantla, a municipality that is part of the greater Mexico City metropolitan area.
One of the other victims was Lozano’s niece. His three sons were wounded in the attack and are in serious condition in a Mexico City hospital.
Lozano’s daughter condemned the murder of her 51-year-old father, who had been selling fruit and juice at the same location in the Tlalnepantla town of Ixhuatepec for 31 years.
“It’s not fair. We get up every day at one in the morning to start working, to go to the Central de Abastos [wholesale market] only for the extortioners to take the little we earn,” María Evelin Lozano told the newspaper El Universal before her father was buried in the San Juan Ixhuatepec cemetery.
She also said that the Mexican Social Security Institute hospital where her three brothers are receiving treatment is charging 8,000 pesos (US $395) per day per patient. She has asked state and federal authorities to help cover the costs and to provide protection due to the risk of another attack on her family.
Municipal police arrested six people in connection with the attack on Saturday, during which more than 20 shots were fired. Three of those detained are minors aged 14, 16 and 17. The two younger boys are brothers.
All six suspects, taken into custody Saturday afternoon near the scene of their alleged crime after a police chase, face charges of homicide, battery and extortion.
The presumed leader of the gang is Rosalío N., aka “El Ratón” (The Mouse). After Lozano refused to hand over money to him, he threatened to “bring his people” to force him to pay, according to a report by the news website La Silla Rota.
A short while later, gang members arrived at the juice stand on motorcycles and opened fire at Lozano and his employees.
Family members of the alleged criminals protested their arrest on Sunday by blocking a major road in Ixhuatepec as well as the Mexico City-Pachuca highway. The National Guard cleared the highway early Monday but another blockade was set up on another Tlalnepantla road later the same day.
The grandmother of the detained brothers called for their release in a video message, claiming they were out shopping for food when they were taken into custody.
México state is one of Mexico’s most violent states, with over 2,600 homicides in 2021.