“Michoacán Journalist Killed by Two (or Five) Men Wielding AK-47s (or AR-15s) at 24 (or 28)”


Local reporters, however, say it is an open secret that the narcotraffic has penetrated all levels of the Mexican state, and that since most authorities are part of organized crime, it is going to be difficult to get them to “open up.”

Admite Magaña de la Mora: No hay pistas sobre los asesinos del reportero García Pimentel: State prosecutor of Michoacán “admits there are no clues as to the identify of those who  murdered the reporter García Pimental.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists noted the case on Monday, sourced as “according [sic] local press reports.” But which ones? Local press reports say various things, not all of which can be true.

On Saturday afternoon, unidentified individuals chased García on his motorcycle through Uruapan, according local press reports. García sought refuge at the Hotel Ruán. As he entered the hotel, two gunmen shot him at close range at least 20 times, police told local reporters on Saturday evening. Police added that some 50 shell casings, nearly all from AR-15 semiautomatic rifles, were found at the scene. Michoacán state police have yet to announce possible motives for the murder. Calls to the federal special prosecutor for crimes against journalists were not immediately returned.

Other local press reports noted the presence of “at least 5 hooded” gunmen. Notiver, for example, carries a wire story sourced to Notimex/La Jornada:

Por lo menos cinco individuos encapuchados ejecutaron hoy sábado en esta ciudad a Gerardo Israel García Pimentel, de 28 años, reportero de la fuente policiaca del diario La Opinión de Michoacán, informó la comandancia municipal.

At least five hooded individuals executed Gerardo Israel García Pimentel, police reporter for the daily La Opinión de Michoacán, the local police reported.

In some of the other reports I have read, he was 24, and not a regular police reporter.

RSF headlined, usefully, that the reporter was gunned down “for unknown reasons.”

García’s employer barely covered the story of its own reporter’s murder, judging from its online edition, which points only to a condolence story on the funeral.

La Jornada Michoacán adds that the hotel was owned by Televisa soap opera actor and screenwriter Javier Ruan, father of the reporter’s fiancée, and cites police sources as reporting:

Por impacto de armas de fuego de “alto poder”, fue asesinado el reportero Gerardo Israel García Pimentel, en el estacionamiento del hotel Ruan, ubicado en el barrio de San Juan Quemado, a manos de cuando menos dos agresores que dispararon un rifle R15, calibre .223 y una pistola .38 súper, que le destrozaron el rostro.

[He] was killed with “high powered” firearms in the parking structure of the Ruan Hotel in San Juan Quemado, at the hands of at least two attackers who fired a .223 R15 rifle [sic] and a .38 “Super” revolver, which destroyed his face.

Destroying someone’s face to prevent the family from holding an open-coffin wake is low. It may well be a sign of deliberate disrespect, and a message.

The AR-15 fires the .233 (5.56mm) round, which I guess may be described as “high-powered” but not necessarily “high-caliber.”

EFE seems to be the source of the caliber of the shells found — a news report from Spain attributes that information to EFE — but is also the source of “45 shells found at the scene.”

La Jornada Michoacán reports “more than 50 shells” discovered at the scene.

Some local accounts are reporting he was staying at a hotel owned by his mother-in-law, where he sought refuge after receiving threats. (Others report that he was to be married next week and was staying at the hotel owned by the parents of his fiancée.)

IFEX tells the same story

According to inquiries made by the IAPA’s Rapid Response Unit, García Pimentel, 24, a reporter for the Michoacán newspaper La Opinión, was shot to death at close range on Saturday [December 8] at around 3:20 p.m. He was riding on a motorcycle in the city of Uruapan when he noticed he was being followed. He pulled up at the local Ruan Hotel, where he lived, and ran to the top floor of the building, which is owned by his wife’s family. But hitmen caught up with him and shot him more than 20 times with an AR15 rifle and a 38 mm handgun. A total of 45 bullet shells were later found at the scene. His family called paramedics, but when they arrived he was already dead.

Whom did he tell that he had noticed he was being followed?

How did the IAPA discover this?

It is understandable that sources might not want to be identified in cases like this, but you would think they would at least tell you what their source on the technical details of the crime were.

Five gunmen, or two? 45 or 50 shells?

How many of those AR-15 shells are denoted by “nearly all”?

How old was the decedent?

Did he work on the police beat or not? What stories has he covered recently?

It always surprises me when organizations that care about journalists do not seem to enough about journalism to exercise it with proper diligence.

See also

From the first of two wire-service dispatches on the incident:

De acuerdo con los primeros reportes, García Pimentel, de 28 años de edad, recibió varios disparos con rifles de grueso calibre después de librar una persecución en la ciudad de Uruapan.

According to preliminary reports, García Pimentel, 28, received various gunshots from high-caliber rifles after getting rid of a tail in the city of Uruapan.

La víctima laboraba los fines de semana en la sección policiaca de periódico La Opinión de Michoacán.

The victim works weekends on the police section of La Opinión.

Los reportes señalan que el periodista conducía una motocicleta cuando fue interceptado por sujetos armados que viajaban en un vehículo.

The reports say that the journalist was driving a motorcycle when he was intercepted by armed subjects in a car.

El comunicador aceleró para tratar de ponerse a salvo y logró llegar a su domicilio, bajó de la moto y corrió a refugiarse.

The journalist accelerated in a bid to save himself and managed to arrive at his residence, got off the motorcyle, and ran, seeking safety.

Sin embargo, los pistoleros ingresaron al inmueble y lo acribillaron de varios impactos de bala, al parecer de rifles AK-47.

But the gunmen entered the building and riddled him with numerous bullets, apparently from AK-47 assault rifles.

Directivos de La Opinión de Michoacán confirmaron esta tarde el ataque, sin que aún se conozca el móvil ni la identidad de los agresores.

Managers at the newspaper confirmed the attack this afternoon (Saturday), but did not yet know the motive or the identity of the attackers.

Is it possible he was waylaid by five, but dispatched by two?

Notiver and La Jornada Michoacan are the only news organizations reporting on this incident that cite the sources of the information they publish — local police.

Which, given the quality of the information the prosecutor says he has, may help to explain the Rashomon effect here.


García, 28, worked for five years as a reporter for La Opinion de Michoacán, the largest daily newspaper in Uruapan. He covered agriculture and sometimes stepped in to report on crime, García’s colleagues told CPJ. Reporters at other newspapers in Michoacán told CPJ that García was considered a low-key reporter, not likely to aggressively pursue sensitive stories or those related to organized crime.

The SIP-IAPA, which says it dispatched a team to the scene, told El Financiero he had worked at the paper for 4 years.

Proceso (Mexico) reports:

México, D.F., 11 de diciembre (apro).- El procurador de Michoacán, Juan Antonio Magaña de la Mora, reconoció hoy que no existe una línea de investigación sólida sobre el asesinato del periodista Gerardo Israel García Pimentel, acribillado el pasado fin de semana en Uruapan.

Michoacán prosecutor Magaña de la Mora acknowledged on Monday there is no solid line of investigation on the murder of Gerardo Israel García Pimentel, a journalist shot down this weekend in Uruapan.

De nada han valido las protestas de los periodistas michoacanos y de organizaciones internacionales como Reporteros Sin Fronteras (RSF) y el Comité Internacional de Protección Para Periodistas (CIPP), entre otras.

The protests of journalists in the state and international organizations like RSF and CPJ, among others, have availed nothing.

Las autoridades judiciales dicen no tener pista alguna que lleve a dar con los responsables de la ejecución de García Pimentel, de 24 años de edad.

Law enforcement officials say they have no clues as to who might have executed García Pimentel, 24.

Y es que, de acuerdo con el fiscal del estado, no puede descartarse aspecto alguno que pudiera limitar la indagatoria, por lo que no se puede precisar cuál ha sido el origen de este homicidio.

And according to the state attorney, no aspects have been discovered to rule out any lines of investigation that might narrow the inquiry, for which reason the motives of the homicide cannot be determined.

“Definitivamente, en este momento sería muy prematuro hacer algún señalamiento”, afirmó Magaña de la Mora.

“Definitively, it would be very premature to draw any conclusions at this point,” Magaña said.

Aseguró que el agente Tercero de Ministerio Público realiza las investigaciones. Sin embargo, hay completo hermetismo del caso y el fiscal “dice no saber nada”.

He said an office of the Public Ministry is investigating. However, there is total official secrecy about the case and the prosecutor in charge “says he knows nothing.”

No obstante, Magaña de la Mora señaló que ha mantenido una estrecha comunicación con el delegado de la Procuraduría General de la República (PGR), Martín Rubio Millán, para “intercambiar reflexiones”. Añadió que, seguramente, en su oportunidad, la dependencia federal se sumará de manera oficial a esta indagatoria, debido a las características del crimen.

However, Magaña said he has kept in close touch with federal prosecutor Rubio Millán in order to “exchange reflections.” He added that the federal agency will certainly enter the case officially, at an opportune moment, due to the characteristics of the crime.

Precisó que la dependencia a su cargo se compromete a cumplir “puntualmente” con la obligación de esclarecer los hechos.

Promises to be diligent.

Sin embargo, para los reporteros locales es un secreto a voces que el narcotráfico ha penetrado en todos los niveles del Estado mexicano, y que al ser la mayoría de las autoridades parte del crimen organizado, va a ser difícil que se “abran”.

Local reporters, however, say it is an open secret that the narcotraffic has penetrated all levels of the Mexican state, and that since most authorities are part of organized crime, it is going to be difficult to get them to “open up.”

RSF reported “local reporters” as saying no such thing.

His fellow journalists said they had no idea what the motive was : “He was a quiet person; we were not aware of his having any problems,” one of them said.

Two relatives of the reporter have disappeared now, family members say:

Familiares del reportero del diario La Opinión, Gerardo Israel García Pimentel, ejecutado el pasado fin de semana en Uruapan, Michoacán, denunciaron formalmente la desaparición de un hermano y un primo del comunicador.

A brother and a cousin, one of them a physician, the other an auto mechanic.

Family members say they have formally reported the disappearance.

No obstante, el procurador de Michoacán, Juan Antonio Magaña de la Mora, negó tener información al respecto.

But state prosecutor Magaña denied having any information to that effect.

“No lo tenemos en conocimiento de alguna denuncia que se haya presentado al respecto. Estamos muy atentos a eso, y lo que tenemos que hacer es realizar las investigaciones muy puntuales, objetivas y lo más pronto posible, a efecto de ir esclareciendo los hechos”, dijo.

“We are not aware of any information that has been presented to that effect. We are paying close attention to this, and what we must do is conduct very detailed, objective investigations, as rapidly as possible, in order to clarify these events,” he said.

De acuerdo con la familia del reportero asesinado, el hermano de éste, Carlos García Pimentel, y su primo, Mario García, desaparecieron el pasado sábado y su automóvil fue encontrado ese mismo día, en el que el comunicador fue victimado.

The family said the reporter’s brother and cousin disappeared last Saturday, and their car was found the same day that the journalist was killed.

Por otra parte, se informó que Isabel Rúan, con quien el reportero se casaría el próximo sábado, solicitó protección a las autoridades, al manifestar que sentir temor por ella, su familia y la del reportero.

It is also reported the Isabel Ruán, whom the reporter was to marry the following Saturday, sought protection from authorities, saing she was afraid for her life, as well as for the lives of her and the reporter’s families.

Desde las primeras horas de ayer, versiones policiales ya hablaban de la presunta desaparición de un hermano y un primo del periodista ultimado a balazos.

Police sources were already speaking of the disappearance of a brother and cousin of the late journalist early yesterday.

On December 10, the FIP picked up the initial reports from Notimex, apparently, but gave more credence to the identification of the AK-47 as the murder weapon:

Acribillado por una ráfaga de aproximadamente 20 disparos de fusil AK-47, fue asesinado el colega Gerardo Israel García Pimentel, cuando acudió a la casa de su novia, en la calle Revolución, en Uruapan, Michoacán, México, el pasado 8 de diciembre.

Riddled with a burst of more than 20 bullets from an AK-47, our colleague was killed while entering the home of his fiancé on Revolución St. in Urupan on December 8.

Sin líneas claras de investigación por parte de la Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado de Michoacán y con altas probabilidades de que, debido al tipo de arma utilizada, la Procuraduría General de la República, atraiga el crimen del periodista que trabajaba para el diario La Opinión, de Michoacán al oeste del país.

Without any clear lines of investigation on the part of the state prosecutor, and with a high probability that, due to the type of weapon used, the federal attorney will attract the case of the journalist who worked for La Opinión

En declaración pública, el director general de La Opinión, Jaime Márquez, sostuvo lo anterior y dijo que personalmente no puede asegurar que el asesinato del reportero este directamente vinculado con los trabajos informativos que había dado a conocer recientemente, y que no recordaba haber recibido alguna amenaza o advertencia en contra del medio informativo que representa, ni de Pimentel.

In a public statement, the director of the newspaper state the foregoing and said he personally could not state conclusively that the murder was directly related to stories the reporter had published recently, and that he had not received any threats or warnings either against the newspaper or against Pimentel.


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