Noted journalist Javier Valdez killed in Mexico's Sinaloa
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Javier Valdez, an award-winning reporter who specialized in covering drug trafficking and organized crime, was slain today in the northern Mexico state of Sinaloa, the latest in a wave of journalist killings in one of the world's most dangerous countries for media workers.
Valdez is at least the sixth journalist to be murdered in Mexico since early March. The unusually high number of killings are seen as not specifically linked to each other but a reminder that impunity for such crimes remains endemic in Mexico, especially in areas dominated by drug cartels and weak or corrupt government.
Valdez was shot to death in the early afternoon in the state capital of Culiacan, near the offices of the publication he co-founded, Riodoce. State Prosecutor Juan Jose Rios visited the scene and said authorities were investigating all possible motives, including the killing could have been due to Valdez's work, though he gave no details.
Riodoce reported Valdez was driving about a block from its offices when he was intercepted by gunmen. Valdez was also a correspondent for the national newspaper La Jornada, which reported he was pulled from his car and shot multiple times.
Images in Mexican media showed a body lying in a street covered by a blue blanket and surrounded by 12 yellow markers of the kind typically used to flag evidence such as bullet casings.
President Enrique Pena Nieto condemned what he called an "outrageous crime."
"I reiterate our commitment to freedom of expression and the press, fundamental for our democracy," he tweeted.
The federal Attorney General's Office said it was investigating.