On August 10, 2022, two gunmen shot and killed Gerardo Delgado Olmedo while he was in his car at a traffic light on the outskirts of the Ecuadorian Pacific coast city of Manta, according to news reports. Shortly before the shooting, Delgado had received a call informing him of a possible suicide—a report that turned out to be false—and was on his way to investigate, according to news reports.
Ricardo Lucas, fire chief of nearby Montecristi, told reporters in a news conference that Delgado’s 19-year-old daughter was also in the car, but was not harmed. Later that night, police detained two suspected gunmen, one of whom said that he was to have been paid $2,000 for killing Delgado, according to news reports. As of mid-August, police were searching for a third suspect who was allegedly in the car during the attack, according to reports.
Ecuadorian Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo tweeted on August 10 that authorities were trying to determine the motive for the crime, which was under investigation by the attorney general’s office.
Delgado, 39, posted videos about crime and neighborhood news on the Ola Manta TV Facebook page, which he founded and which had almost 200,000 followers at the time of his death. Delgado previously spent 10 years as a reporter for local TV channel Televisión Manabita, and had also worked as a correspondent for national broadcaster Teleamazonas and other outlets, including Manavision and Oromar, according to reports.
Rody Vélez, a Manta-based journalist and close friend of Delgado, told CPJ via WhatsApp that Delgado sometimes criticized the Manta city government for the lack of streetlights, garbage collection, and other public services in poor neighborhoods. Due to such reporting, Vélez said that Delgado was well-known in Manta and was considering running for a city council seat in local elections scheduled for 2023.
“He was very passionate in his reports, and he always defended the victims,” Vélez told CPJ.
On August 18, officials in the Montecristi prosecutor’s office told media outlets that investigators, led by prosecutor Carlos Piedra Garaicoa, were analyzing the cell phones of Delgado and the two detained suspects. In April 2023, the suspects were sentenced to 34 years and six months in prison each while prosecutors continue to investigate to find the mastermind and the motive, according to news reports.
CPJ texted and emailed the Manta City Hall and the Manta police for comment but did not receive any replies. The press department of the attorney general’s office said in an email that it could not comment on the ongoing investigation into Delgado’s death.