Crime reporter García Escamilla died from injuries she suffered in an April 5 shooting in front of her radio station in the border city of Nuevo Laredo. García Escamilla was hospitalized in critical condition after being struck by nine shots to the abdomen, pelvis, arms, and legs as she arrived at work, Stereo 91 News Director Roberto Gálvez Martínez told CPJ. She hosted the program “Punto Rojo” for Stereo 91 XHNOE in Nuevo Laredo, a violence-plagued city of 500,000 in the state of Tamaulipas.
The attack occurred about a half hour after the station aired a report by García Escamilla on the slaying of a Nuevo Laredo defense lawyer, Gálvez Martinez said. An unidentified assailant approached García Escamilla after she parked her car in front of the station just before 8 a.m., firing 14 times in all, the Mexican press reported.
García Escamilla, an experienced reporter who had worked for several media outlets in the city, had covered crime for Stereo 91 since 2001. Gálvez Martinez told CPJ that García Escamilla’s car was torched in early January in front of her house. He said no motive was established for the arson, although press reports speculated that it stemmed from her reporting.
Several news reports later included speculation that García Escamilla had links to one of the criminal groups fighting to control the drug trade in Nuevo Laredo, but the evidence was inconclusive. Investigators, who initially said the murder appeared to be connected to her reporting, said later that they had not disregarded other motives.