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Mayor shot dead while at restaurant with his 14-year-old son in Mexico

Arming Cartels | CBS Reports
Arming Cartels: Inside the Mexican-American Gunrunning Networks | CBS Reports 22:30

A mayor was shot dead at a restaurant in Mexico on Saturday, the regional prosecutor's office said, the latest politically related killing in the country plagued by violence and organized crime.

Guillermo Torres, 39, and his 14-year-old son were attacked at a restaurant in Morelia, the capital of western Michoacan state, the prosecutor's office said in a statement. His son survived.

He was elected mayor of Michoacan's Churumuco municipality as a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party in 2022, but recently quit the party and publically voiced sympathy for the ruling Morena, according to local media.

Forensic personnel and investigators from the prosecutor's office are guarded by police while carrying out investigations in a restaurant where Guillermo Torres, municipal president of Churumuco, municipality of Tierra Caliente in Morelia, Michoacan state, Mexico, was murdered on March 30, 2024. ENRIQUE CASTRO/AFP via Getty Images

Torres is the latest politician to be murdered in Mexico in the run-up to the presidential elections on June 2, in which 20,000 local and federal positions and the entire Congress will be voted on.

Two mayoral candidates were murdered on February 26: Miguel Angel Zavala Reyes and Armando Perez Luna of the Morena and National Action Party, respectively.

Last month, prosecutors in southern Mexico said that mayoral candidate

Tomás Morales was killed in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero.

Between June 4, 2023, and March 26 this year, 50 people have been murdered in "episodes of electoral violence", 26 of them aiming for popular seats, according to a report by the Laboratorio Electoral think tank.

Mexico's drug cartels have often focused assassination attempts on mayors and mayoral candidates, in a bid to control local police or extort money from municipal governments.

Michoacan state, Mexico's main avocado-producing region, is the scene of constant fighting between organized crime groups, including the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

Last month, a state police officer was reportedly decapitated and her two bodyguards were killed in a highway attack in Michoacan.

Also in March, three farmers were killed by a bomb apparently planted in Michoacan. That came just days after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador acknowledged that an improvised explosive device killed at least four soldiers in what he called a "trap" likely set by a cartel in Michoacan.

Killings and abductions are daily occurrences in Mexico, where nearly 450,000 people have been murdered since 2006 in a spiral of drug-related violence, according to official data.

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