EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Chihuahua state authorities say they have arrested three men in connection with Thursday’s murder of a Juarez journalist.
The Attorney General’s Office identified the suspects as Carlos Miguel H.H., 20, Joan Eduardo C.B., 23, and Jesus Adrian C.L., 22. They allegedly shot El Heraldo de Juarez photojournalist Ismael Villagomez Tapia while trying to rob him as he worked a second job as a shared-ride driver, investigators said.
The AG’s Office said Carlos Miguel H.H. was in possession of the victim’s cellphone at the time of his arrest late Thursday. Joan Eduardo C.B. had a 9mm gun and two small bags of cocaine; Jesus Adrian C.L. also had cocaine and the victim’s alternate cell phone, the state agency said in a statement.
Local news media report being told by investigators that the suspects allegedly told police one of them shot Villagomez as he resisted being robbed of his wallet and cellphones.
The AG’s Office said the suspects will go before a judge later this Friday, and that counselors and other support are being made available to the family of the victim.
Villagomez had been working for El Heraldo for the past two years and had been a photojournalist for two decades according to his coworkers. He was married and the father of four children.
Some of his peers told Border Report the murder in the early hours of Thursday bares the lack of public safety in poorly lit, high-crime working-class neighborhoods of Juarez, as well as the fact that Mexican journalists have to take second jobs just to make ends meet.
The body of the journalist laid in his family’s home on Friday. His sister Alicia said he knew the risks associated with his profession, but he loved being a newsman nonetheless.
“He loved his job. He knew it was dangerous, sometimes not well paid, or whatever. But he loved it. He was passionate about taking photos. He would tell me, ‘Look, I’m doing this, etc.’,” she said.
The family is monitoring the police investigation and has been briefed by state officials.
“(They say) it was because he resisted the robbery. So, let them (the suspects) go to jail. That’s what we want. It doesn’t return our brother to us, but at least we need to see something is done to those people,” Alicia Villagomez said.