Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Protests erupt in Chilpancingo after police suspect in student shooting flees

The state police officer who allegedly shot and killed a college student in Guerrero last week is on the run — with the complicity of local authorities, according to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

One day after the president called the killing “an abuse of authority” because the victim “did not shoot,” he revealed in his Tuesday morning press conference that the officer who reportedly pulled the trigger is nowhere to be found.

Funeral of the student who was killed in Guerrero last week
The funeral of college student Yanqui Kothan Gómez Peralta who was killed by police last week in Guerrero. (Cuartoscuro)

And because the officer is not in custody, the Guerrero capital of Chilpancingo is now the site of protests by students and others. State government offices were evacuated late Tuesday morning, and images of protesters storming the Guerrero attorney general’s office (FGE) had begun circulating on social media by early afternoon.

“The investigation is being carried out, as is the search, of course,” the president said in his mañanera at the National Palace in Mexico City. “But part of the breakdown that we are facing is the interests that are involved.”

López Obrador said an arrest warrant had been issued along with instructions to bring the officer into custody in Chilpancingo.

“But they notified him, or he escaped,” he added. “It was in an administrative arrest, but the protocols were not followed … We realize how the situation is, that there are many interests. There are those who do not want justice to be done, and for us [the ruling party] to look bad.”

Student protesters outside the FGE office in Chilpancingo
Students threw Molotov cocktails at the Attorney General’s Office in Chilpancingo, Guerrero. (Cuartoscuro)

The FGE published a press release on Tuesday afternoon stating that it never had the officer in question in custody and does not carry out administrative arrests, contradicting the president’s version of events. Some close to the case, however, have echoed the president’s version of the story. Lilia Vianey, the slain student’s mother, told news outlet Rompeviento on Tuesday that the officers involved in her son’s killing were “being kept safe, not detained.”

The killing of Yanqui Khotan Gómez Peralta took place last Thursday night at a police checkpoint in Chilpancingo. Gómez, a 23-year-old student at the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in Tixtla, Guerrero, was reportedly in a pickup truck that was identified as stolen, according to the Guerrero Ministry of Public Security (SSP).

He was riding in the truck, reportedly a Nissan Frontier, with two other students from the college, although one allegedly got out before the checkpoint. The other student who stayed in the truck, Osiel Faustino Jimón Dircio, was injured in the incident. Jimón was released from FGE custody last Friday; his lawyer has since stated that while detained he was tortured by local police attempting to extract a false confession of illegal weapons possession. 

Gómez, like many of his fellow Ayotzinapa students, sometimes participated in protests in Mexico City relating to the 2014 disappearance and presumed murder of 43 male students who were studying at the rural teachers’ college.The day before his death, there was such a protest in Mexico City, in which a Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) pickup truck was used as a battering ram to break down one of the doors of the National Palace. Guerrero government officials have asserted there was no concerted effort on the part of state police to go after students from the Ayotzinapa school.

However, according to the mother of one of the Ayotzinapa 43, the police always “have the [teachers’ college] students under close surveillance.”

“They knew that the normalistas were going [to a school celebration], that’s why they shot them,” Cristina Bautista Salvador told the newspaper La Jornada. 

López Obrador also revealed in his press conference that two forensic experts with the federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR), Kassandra Domínguez Pastrana and Enrique Linares Ríos “disappeared” when they were en route from Cuernavaca to Chilpancingo on Saturday.

As of Tuesday late afternoon, authorities from Morelos announced the two missing officials had been found alive, however no further details were given about the circumstances of their abduction.

With reports from La Jornada, El Financiero and Sin Embargo


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