Journalist José Guadalupe Chan Dzib was shot and killed by an unknown assailant on June 29, 2018, in the La Baticueva bar in the city of Sabán, some 150 miles southeast of Cancún, in the state of Quintana Roo, according to news reports.
Pedro Canché, a local independent reporter who wrote about the shooting on his news blog, told CPJ that the attacker shot Chan Dzib once in the back and neck, and twice in the head. According to Canché and news reports, the assailant fled after the attack.
Chan Dzib was dead when police arrived at the bar, according to a June 30 statement by the Quintana Roo state attorney general’s office that was published on its Facebook page. The press release did not specify how much time elapsed between the shooting and police’s arrival.
In a second statement, released on July 1, 2018, the state attorney general’s office said it had not identified any suspects and had not discarded any possible motive for the killing, including a possible connection to the reporter’s work.
Ricardo Sánchez Pérez del Pozo, who heads the office of the federal Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes Committed against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE), told CPJ on July 2 that his office had opened an investigation into the murder.
Chan Dzib, 43, worked as a reporter for the news group Semanario Playa News, which publishes on Facebook and is based in Playa del Carmen, since March 2018, the outlet’s co-founder, Rubén Pat, told CPJ.
According to Pat, Chan Dzib covered general news, local politics, crime, and security in Quintana Roo. In the weeks before his death, Chan Dzib wrote about the execution of a local political leader in Sabán and about a municipal election.
Chan Dzib’s killing occurred two days before Mexico’s July 1 general election, which included elections for municipalities and state congress in Quintana Roo.
Pat told CPJ on July 2 that, three weeks before Chan Dzib was killed, he told Pat that he received a threatening call from an unknown person, but did not elaborate further. Pat said he was unaware of additional threats to the journalist.
A member of Chan Dzib’s family who asked for anonymity for safety reasons told CPJ on June 30 that he was unaware of any threats against the journalist and that Chen Dzib did not generally discuss his work with family.