News Photographer Shot Dead in Cartel Region

( – A photographer and journalist who works in the Mexican border city of Juárez was found dead in his vehicle, apparently shot and killed according to local authorities.

Ismael Villagómez worked part-time as an independent taxi driver and was found in the car he had registered as his work vehicle. Authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding his death and the possibility it was related to his work as a photographer.

He worked for El Heraldo de Juárez for 18 years according to the outlet. Coworkers described him as happy and dedicated to his work. Three suspects were taken into custody on Thursday, November 16th, the same day his body was discovered. His phone was not found with his body. Prosecutor Carlos Manuel Salas explained that they’ll be looking into the ride history to see if there was a fare at the time of his death.

Ciudad Juárez has had decades of cartel-related turf wars and other criminal activity and sits just across the U.S.-Mexico border from El Paso, Texas.

The Mexican Committee to Protect Journalists has expressed their concern over his death, urging authorities to investigate.

Villagómez’s death marks the fifth Mexican journalist to be killed in 2023. Jesús Gutiérrez was shot and killed during an attack on police in the northern Mexican border town of San Luis Rio Colorado. It’s believed he was not a target in the attack, merely caught in the crossfire. He was having a conversation with one of his neighbors at the time who happened to be a cop when they were peppered with a rain of bullets.

Three other journalists were killed in what are believed to be targeted attacks. Mexico is considered one of the deadliest countries for media personnel outside of war zones.

The Committee to Protect Journalists counted 52 journalists that were killed in Mexico over the past five years, just last year saw 15 murdered journalists.

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