Unidentified gunman kills Peruvian photographer in Lima

Bogota, Colombia, February 25, 2013–Authorities in Peru should immediately determine the motive behind the murder of a journalist on Saturday and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Luis Choy, 39, a photographer for leading Peruvian daily El Comercio, was shot dead outside his home in Lima, according to news reports. Witnesses told police that Choy was leaving his house when an unidentified man persuaded him to get out of his car. The two spoke briefly, the witnesses said, before the man shot Choy twice in the abdomen and once in the head, news reports said. The gunman then fled the scene in a waiting vehicle, the reports said.

News accounts reported that the gunman did not steal Choy’s car or the large amount of money found in the journalist’s pockets. Choy also sold cars and was in the process of selling his own vehicle, the reports said. Antonieta Sandoval, Choy’s mother, told the RPP radio network in the capital that the gunman had tricked her son by pretending he was a client interested in purchasing the car.

News accounts did not immediately report whether Choy had covered any crime or corruption-related issues before he was killed.

Cesar Cortijo, director of police criminal investigations, said in a press conference on Sunday that authorities had yet to determine a motive in the murder. “They wanted him dead. This was not an attempted robbery,” he said. Raúl Salazar, Peru’s national police chief, announced that a special police unit was being formed to investigate the murder.

“Police in Lima must work thoroughly and efficiently to determine the motive behind the murder of Luis Choy and to bring the perpetrators to justice,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney from New York.

Choy’s murder is the latest in a string of homicides. Lima is in the midst of a crime wave, with the number of homicides and abductions having more than doubled since 2000, according to statistics released by the government. Interior Minister Alfredo Pedraza announced that on Monday an additional 1,000 police officers would begin patrolling the streets of Lima.