Journalist gunned down in Peru

Bogotá, November 11, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Sunday’s murder of Peruvian journalist Fernando Raymondi and calls on authorities to fully investigate the crime and establish a motive. The journalist was investigating a story on local gangs for Peru’s leading newsmagazine Caretas, according to news reports.

Raymondi was at his father’s grocery store in San Vicente de Cañete, a town just south of the capital city of Lima, when two gunmen burst in, according to news reports. Hilario Raymondi, the journalist’s father, said that although they told the gunmen where the money was kept, one of the gunmen shot Raymondi twice in the chest and then fled on a motorcycle without taking anything, according to news reports. Raymondi died on the way to the hospital.

Raymondi, 22, was studying journalism at a Lima university and for the past eight months had worked as a reporter for Caretas, according to news reports. He had written several other articles for the publication, including a report on the girlfriend of a suspended mayor and one on an eviction in the city of Cajamarca, news reports said. Raymondi often traveled to San Vicente de Cañete to visit his father and began investigating a series of more than a dozen killings, including of three construction workers, in the town, according to a report by Caretas.

Américo Zambrano, an editor at Caretas, said Raymondi had been working on a story about killings by gangs who had been allegedly extorting construction companies in and around the town. The report had not been published yet, according to the Associated Press.

“I can’t go out on a limb and say that this was the reason for the killing, but nothing can be ruled out,” Zambrano told the Lima station Radio Exitoso. The editor also said that Raymondi had not reported receiving any threats.

The Lima-based press freedom group Institute for Press and Society reported, without citing sources, that one of the gunmen recognized Raymondi mid-robbery and decided to shoot him.

The head of the Peruvian police, General Jorge Flores Goicochea, rejected the theory that the crime was related to Raymondi’s work and said today that the journalist had been killed amid the chaos and confusion of the attempted robbery, according to news reports.

“We condemn the killing of journalist Fernando Raymondi and call on authorities to bring those responsible to justice,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas, from New York. “Authorities must launch an exhaustive investigation before discarding any potential motives, including a possible link to the victim’s work.”

Journalists and news outlets reporting on corruption and organized crime in Peru are frequently targeted with violence, according to CPJ research. In late October, gunmen entered the offices of Radio Rumba, in the town of Pichanaki in central Junín department, and attacked radio host Gerson Fabián Cuba. The journalist survived but his wife, Gloria Limas Calle, was killed in the attack.