New York, August 8, 2008—Unidentified individuals shot and killed Dominican journalist Normando García Thursday evening in the city of Santiago, 102 miles (163 kilometers) north of the capital, Santo Domingo. The Committee to Protect Journalists is investigating whether García’s murder is linked to his journalistic work.
At around 6:40 p.m., García, a cameraman for the daily news program “Detrás de la Noticia” (Behind the News) and producer of the music program “Pachanga Mix” on television station Teleunión, was dropping his car at a car wash when multiple gunshots were fired from a moving car, according to local news reports.
At the time, García was talking to a taxi driver who was also fatally injured in the shooting. García, who died immediately, was shot five times in the head, four in the chest, and once in the leg, said Esteban Rosario, host of “Detrás de la Noticia.” The taxi driver was taken to a local hospital, where he died, according to local press reports.
Rosario told CPJ that he believed García was murdered in retaliation for his work. García, known locally as Azabache, covered drug trafficking and crime.
“We are saddened by the death of Normando García and send our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s Americas Program coordinator. “We call on Dominican authorities to carry out a thorough and timely investigation into his killing.”
García had received multiple death threats in the last eight months, according to journalists in Santiago. Rosario, who has also been threatened, said that anonymous callers had told García that if he kept doing crime reporting he was going to die. García’s car was set on fire outside the Teleunión offices eight months ago, Rosario said.
Santiago Police spokesman Col. Jesús Cordero Paredes told CPJ that authorities are conducting a full investigation. Cordero said investigators have a good lead on possible suspects but do not have a motive yet. The spokesman added that police are providing protection to other journalists who cover the police beat. Deadly violence against journalists is not common in the Dominican Republic, according to CPJ research. Only one journalist besides García has been killed in direct reprisal for his work in the last five years. The previous killing was in 2004.