Gunmen have shot and killed a Mexican radio journalist while he was leaving his home in the southern state of Tabasco. He is the fourth journalist to be killed this year as homicide rates continue to rise in Mexico.
Juan Carlos Huerta, a news radio host in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco, was gunned down in his car by armed men on Tuesday as he drove from his home, Mexican authorities said.
Fernando Valenzuela, the chief prosecutor of Tabasco, said the gunmen ran into Huerta's car with another vehicle as he left his home in the state's capital of Villahermosa, forcing him to stop. A man got out and shot Huerta before fleeing.
Two .45-caliber shell casings were found at the scene. Officials said the perpetrators escaped and roads leaving the capital had been closed off as part of attempts to catch them.
Tabasco governor Arturo Nunez said the killing did not seem to be random or robbery-related. "They apparently went to execute him."
Huerta, 45, was a radio and television host who had started his own radio station several months ago. He leaves behind a wife and two children, according to Mexican media reports.
Read more: Mexicans - Dying for Justice
Danger for journalists
At least four journalists have been killed so far this year. Huerta's death comes on the one-year anniversary of the killing of acclaimed crime reporter and writer Javier Valdez.
Valdez, the co-founder of Mexican newspaper Rio Doce who also worked for French news agency AFP, was killed in a drive-by shooting while walking into Rio Doce's offices in Culiacan, the state capital of Sinaloa.
At least 32 journalists have been killed in the last five and a half years, and more than 100 have been killed since 2000. Free-speech advocacy group Article 19 has said Mexico is the most dangerous country for Mexican journalists.
Mexico opened 29,168 murder cases last year, a new record for the Latin American country. The violence is linked to the brutal drug trafficking trade. Some experts predict the number could exceed 30,000 this year. More than 90 percent of violent crimes in Mexico go unpunished.
The increase in violence has slashed the popularity of President Enrique Pena Nieto. Leftist presidential hopeful Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador currently leads opinion polls ahead of elections in July.
dv/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters)