A newspaper reporter was shot to death on Wednesday in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, Mexican authorities said.
He is the 12th journalist to be killed in Mexico so far this year, already approaching its worst annual tally of 13 in recent years in a country that has become notoriously dangerous for reporters.
The journalist was identified as Antonio de la Cruz, who worked as a reporter for the local newspaper Expreso.
De la Cruz was shot while leaving his house in the city of Ciudad Victoria. His 23-year old daughter and wife were also seriously injured in the attack, state prosecutors said.
The 47-year-old regularly reported on rural and social topics such as water shortages. He also frequently criticized alleged acts of corruption by politicians on social media.
The head of Expreso, Miguel Dominguez, said the late reporter "never expressed any concern to us" about his safety.
De la Cruz was "very aware of the reality of Tamaulipas, very brave,'' Dominguez said in an interview with Milenio Television.
Newspaper targeted in the past
Expreso covers news in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas, including security issues. The state is one of the areas most affected by violence involving organized crime and drug cartels.
The paper has been regularly targeted over the years, including a car bomb attack outside its offices in 2012.
In 2018, a human head was left outside Expreso's building, with a warning not to report on the violence taking place in the city.
Another Expreso reporter, Hector Gonzalez, was beaten to death in 2018.
Calls for investigation
De la Cruz's death prompted swift condemnation and calls for a thorough investigation.
"We must not allow more attacks on journalists and activists. These crimes will not go unpunished," President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's spokesman, Jesus Ramirez, wrote on Twitter.
Expreso called for "justice from authorities at all levels."
Rights group Reporters Without Borders urged authorities to launch a probe and investigate whether the murder was linked to de la Cruz's journalistic work.
The state prosecutor's office in Tamaulipas said it was investigating the killing and that a special unit for investigating crimes against freedom of expression had been informed.
Over 150 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2000. The country is one of the world's most dangerous for media workers, with few cases resulting in convictions.
rs/msh (AP, AFP)