A two-day spate of gang violence that included gruesome discoveries of tortured victims left a death toll of at least 44 people — including a journalist and a social media star — across 10 states.
Seventeen of those were killed in the northern state of Chihuahua: six men lost their lives in a shootout in the municipality of Gómez Farías, about 250 kilometers northwest of the state capital.
In addition to the bodies, state authorities found seven vehicles at the scene of the incident, including two that had been burned out as well as bullet casings from several different weapons.
In a bar in Chihuahua, just blocks away from the municipal police barracks, two more men were shot dead Monday night.
Also in the capital, five bodies of men estimated to be aged between 20 and 30 were found near a landfill site in the Valles de Chihuahua neighborhood. The bodies showed signs of torture; hands were tied together and each corpse had a bullet wound to the head.
At least two other incidents in the state resulted in single fatalities while the body of another young man who showed signs of torture was found in the border city of Ciudad Juárez.
In Michoacán, six people were killed Monday night in different parts of the state including two men and a woman who were found at a highway cross linking Pátzcuaro to Ario de Rosales. Their bodies also presented signs of torture.
Near the state’s border with Guanajuato, two more bodies were found with gunshot wounds.
In violence-plagued Acapulco, Guerrero, four people were killed in gunfire yesterday morning including two women, one a well-known local lawyer and the other a city council administrative worker.
In the gulf state of Veracruz, a crime reporter was shot dead yesterday morning bringing the number of journalists killed in Mexico this year to 12.
Mexico now ranks alongside Syria as the deadliest country for journalists, according to the organization Reporters Without Borders.
Gumaro Pérez Aguilando, 34, was gunned down by two men at an elementary school in the town of Acayucan while attending his son’s Christmas pageant. He reportedly received multiple gunshot wounds including one to the forehead.
Pérez reported for the local newspaper Diario de Acayucan as well as news websites and also worked in the communications department of the local government.
Since 2015, Pérez had requested to be included in a protection program for journalists, said the president of the State Commission for the Care and Protection of Journalists, Ana Laura Pérez.
State Public Security Secretary Jaime Téllez Marié stated that authorities have already identified two suspects.
Meanwhile, in the Jalisco municipality of Zapopan a social media star known as “El Pirata de Culiacán” (The Pirate of Culiacán) was shot and killed Monday night.
Juan Luis Lagunas Rosales, 17, gained notoriety and thousands of followers on social media by recording and uploading videos of himself while drunk or drugged and showing off women, cars, weapons and other aspects of his ostentatious lifestyle.
Authorities suspect that the same avenue that led him to fame was also responsible for his demise.
Last month, he uploaded a video to YouTube in which he verbally attacked the leader of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), Nemesio Oseguera. Early investigations indicate that the direct assault on Lagunas was made in reprisal for his attack on the notorious leader known as “El Mencho.”
State Security Commissioner Raúl Alejandro Velázquez told Milenio Televisión that the minor received between 15 and 20 bullet wounds — the majority to his head — while recording a video at a bar in a neighborhood of Zapopan, part of the Guadalajara metropolitan area. The bar owner was also shot and later died.
The latest wave of violence adds to what has already been an extremely murderous year in Mexico.
There were 20,878 homicides in the first 10 months of 2017, and this year is certain to go down as the most violent since the government first started keeping records in 1997.