An unidentified assailant shot Rodríguez, 40, a reporter for the local daily El Diario, at least eight times with a 9mm weapon, according to Mexican news reports and CPJ interviews. Rodríguez was sitting in a company-owned Nissan sedan parked inside his garage at about 8 a.m. when he was shot, local authorities told CPJ. His young daughter, Ximena, who was in the car at the time of the attack, was uninjured. According to Jaime Torres Baladez, the local mayor's spokesman, the reporter was pronounced dead at the scene.
"We mourn the death of Armando Rodríguez and offer our
deepest condolences to friends and family," said Carlos Lauría, CPJ's senior
program coordinator for the
The Mexican Congress is considering legislation that would make crimes against free expression a federal offense, a step backed by President Felipe Calderón. "Journalists who cover crime and drug trafficking continue to be killed," Lauría said. "Mexican authorities should make protection of the media a priority by promoting legislation that will better safeguard the constitutional right of all Mexican citizens to express themselves freely."
Alejandro Pariente, spokesman for the deputy state prosecutor, said authorities have recovered evidence from the scene. Pariente told CPJ that investigators have not identified a motive as yet but are looking into Rodríguez's journalism as a possibility.
Pedro Torres, El Diario's deputy editor, said Rodríguez had received a threatening text message in February telling him to "tone it down." Rocío Gallegos, news director at the daily, told CPJ she asked Rodríguez if he wanted to change his beat, but the reporter insisted on continuing to cover crime. For safety reasons, Torres said, El Diario does not conduct in-depth investigations into organized crime or drug trafficking.
Local journalists told CPJ they believed Rodríguez had been targeted for his work, though they could not pinpoint a specific story that would have triggered the killing. Carlos Huerta Múñoz, a crime reporter for the Ciudad Juárez-based daily El Norte, said he and Rodríguez had covered the murder of two local police officers on Wednesday. Huerta said Rodríguez had not mentioned any threats. Colleagues told CPJ that Rodríguez was a well-known and respected reporter, who covered crime for more than a decade.
Ciudad Juárez, a border city across from
Powerful drug cartels and escalating violence associated
with criminal groups have made