Another Mexican journalist was killed Tuesday in his home state of Veracruz as he attended a christmas party at his son’s classroom, bringing the number of journalists killed in Mexico this year to 12 and marking the deadliest year on record for media workers in the country.
Gumaro Perez, 35, who regularly wrote about security and drug trafficking, was shot at four times and killed in Acayucan town.
"We're in shock, waiting for them to hand over the body and see what we're going to do together with his family," said journalists' group Asociacion de Periodistas Independientes de Acayucan, to which Perez belonged.
Witness told reporters that a lone gunman entered Perez's 6-year-old son's classroom, where the Christmas celebration was being held, and fired at Perez. Perez worked for Golfo Sur and Voz del Sur, among other media organizations.
“It continues being the same nightmare,” Miguel Ángel Díaz, founder of Plumas Libres, an online news site in the state capital Xalapa, told The Guardian Tuesday. “Nothing and no one protects us. Criminals have permission to do as they want.”
Press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders said his killing makes Mexico one of the world’s two most dangerous countries to be a journalist alongside Syria.
Perez’s killing is also the third to take place in Veracruz this year. Cándido Ríos Vázquez, a reporter with El Diario de Acayucan, was shot dead outside a convenience store in August despite being under a federal government protection program after reporting threats on his life from a mayor in the region.
Meanwhile a month earlier photojournalist Edwin Rivera Paz, a Honduran national who had fled to Mexico after the killing of a colleague in his home country, was fatally shot on a motorcycle in Acayucan.
Since 2000, at least 111 media workers have been killed in Mexico, with 38 deaths since Enrique Pena Nieto became president in December 2012, British advocacy group Article 19 says.
Despite repeated promises from authorities to bring perpetrators to justice, the government has so far failed to bring any convictions for the high profile killings of reporters.