Mexico: Mayor of Churumuco, Michoacán, shot dead

Guillermo Torres was attacked when he was with his son in a restaurant in the state capital.

(AFP) The mayor of the municipality of Churumuco in the Mexican state of Michoacán was murdered Saturday night, the regional prosecutor's office reported in a statement. The region has been plagued by violence linked to organized crime. Guillermo Torres, 39, and his 14-year-old son "were attacked" by gunfire in a restaurant in Morelia, capital of Michoacán, the institution detailed.

The child survived, while the politician died after being taken to a hospital to receive medical attention.

Torres won the election as standard bearer of the once hegemonic Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in 2022, but he recently left that group and joined the ruling Morena party, according to the local press.

The crime occurred in amidst the electoral campaign for the presidential elections on June 2, in which 20,000 local and federal positions and the entire bicameral Congress will also be renewed.

The murder of the mayor comes after those that occurred on Feb. 26, when Miguel Ángel Zavala Reyes and Armando Pérez Luna, candidates for Morena and the National Action Party (PAN) for mayor of Maravatío, also in Michoacán, were murdered.

From June 4, 2023 to March 26, 2024, 50 people have been murdered in "episodes of electoral violence," of which 26 were running for elected office, noted the consultancy Laboratorio Electoral in its latest report.

Michoacán, a main producer of avocados, is the scene of constant fights between organized crime groups, including the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). At the end of February, four soldiers were killed and nine others were injured in an attack with explosives against an army patrol in the municipality of Aguililla.

Mexico, with 126 million inhabitants, has recorded more than 450,000 murders since 2006, most attributed to criminal organizations.