Jesús Rafael Flores Rojas

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Flores, 66, columnist and Anzoátegui coordinator for the Cumaná-based daily La Región, was shot by an unidentified assailant in front of his house.

At 9 p.m., as Flores and his daughter Nancy were putting their car into the garage, an armed man approached the journalist. The daughter said that she implored the attacker to take their car and money, but the assailant told her that he wasn’t there for either and shot the journalist repeatedly. Flores was struck eight times, in the face, neck, and arm, Luis Marcano Barrios, editor of La Región, told CPJ.

Flores wrote a weekly column in which he often criticized local government officials. Marcano said Flores had told him that he had received several death threats, the most recent coming a month earlier when an unidentified caller told Flores to stop criticizing the municipal government. Family members said they didn’t know of any threats against Flores, the local press reported.

Police Commissioner José Rivero Alfonzo told reporters that the murder appeared to be the work of a professional hit man. Rivero said that police were reviewing Flores’ columns in search of a motive or suspects.