Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Soldier charged with murder in death of golfer-businesswoman during car chase

A soldier has been charged with the murder of a golfer and businesswoman from San Luis Potosí who once ran as a candidate for federal deputy for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

Lidia Villalba de Heinz, a former national golf champion, was killed and four other people were wounded on Thursday night while returning to San Luis Potosí city from a golf tournament in Aguascalientes.

A soldier opened fire on the sports utility vehicle (SUV) transporting Villalba in Ojuelos, Jalisco, near the Zacatecas border, killing her. Two women in the backseats of the SUV were wounded in the legs and the driver and a person in the passenger seat suffered injuries to the arms.

Four police officers were also injured. However, there is no record stating that the occupants of the SUV attacked them. The shooting occurred in Jalisco, but the body and the vehicle were found over the state border in Zacatecas, the newspaper El Norte reported.

According to a statement provided to the federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR) by an unconfirmed source, a Jalisco ministerial police vehicle, two military pickups and other municipal security vehicles pursued the SUV on Federal Highway 80 in the direction of San Luis Potosí city, after security officials saw the SUV speeding about 150 meters away from them.

The convoy chased the SUV for about five kilometers and repeatedly tried to cut it off.

The Jalisco police vehicle eventually managed to halt the SUV and the police officers approached the vehicle and demanded the driver and passengers exit.

The statement explains that the police officers fired a handgun and a soldier then fired a mounted machine gun into the back of the SUV.

However, it’s not clear whether weapons were fired from different angles: the newspaper Milenio reported that there were bullet holes visible at both the rear and front, and on the front passenger side of the SUV.

According to the statement, at around 10:40 p.m. a lieutenant ordered the solider to surrender his weapons and hand over his uniform. He was informed he was being arrested for murder and the attempted murder of four civilians.

Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro distanced his administration from the murder. “It was in Zacatecas, in a chase. The army is already giving information. It was a matter for the army, they are the ones who will have to give information,” he said.

The Zacatecas-Jalisco border is a territorial battleground between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

With reports from Milenio, Expansión Política and El Norte

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