Two journalists have been shot dead and a third seriously injured in broad daylight in the south of Guatemala.
Danilo Lopez, Federico Salazar and Marvin Israel Tunchez, of three different news networks, were gunned down at around 11AM in the Cenrtal Park of Suchitpequez Tuesday, according to other journalists who did not want to be named.
Read more: 142nd Colombian Journalist Killed since 1977
The journalists were in the park to report on a special event put on by the city council to mark International Women's Day.
Witnesses say two assassins on motorbikes were responsible.
“The park was packed, to the point that the authorities had closed the surrounding streets. On one of the benches we found a group of journalists, covering the activity for the media. At some point, two people who were traveling by motorbike ignored the sign that prohibited traffic. One of them got off and picked out Danilo and emptied the barrell of his pistol on him,” a witness told El Pais.
Another reporter on the scene added, “If this happens in the middle of the city, in full day light and in front of hundreds of witnesses, imagine the level of insecurity in which the journalists work in in this province.”
The attackers fled the scene, but one has been named locally as Sergio Waldemar Cardona Reyes, who has a history of violence.
According to Miguel Angel Mendez Zetina, the director of Prensa Libre where Danilo Lopez worked, the 38-year-old reporter had received threats in previous years. Mendez Zetina speculated that drug gangs could be behind the hit.
“Sometimes he was afraid about that,” he said.
At least 18 journalists have been murdered in Guatemala since 2000. It is considered one of the most dangerous countries in Latin America for journalists.