On May 9, 2023, two gunmen aboard a motorcycle fatally shot Luis Gabriel Pereira while he was riding his motorcycle in Ciénaga de Oro, a town in the northern Colombian department of Córdoba, according to news reports and the Bogotá-based Foundation for Press Freedom, or FLIP.
Pereira, 25, founded the local news outlet Notiorense on Facebook earlier in 2023. He published stories on crime and public security in Ciénaga de Oro, including articles about the recent killing of a woman that named her alleged killer. The reports prompted fellow journalists to warn Pereira that his safety could be at risk, according to FLIP.
The motive for the killing was unclear as of late May, according to those reports.
In October 2022, journalist Rafael Emiro Moreno was also shot and killed in Córdoba, as CPJ documented at the time. Córdoba is home to several violent drug-trafficking gangs, according to news reports, and the FLIP statement said Ciénaga de Oro Mayor Ana Bedoya Usta complained that security had deteriorated in recent months.
Yasid Alberto Montaño, police commander in the Córdoba capital of Montería, said the police were investigating the killing and announced a 10 million peso reward (US$2,173) for information that could help solve the crime, according to news reports.
Paola Tovar, a spokesperson for the attorney general in Bogotá, told CPJ that agents were interviewing Pereira’s relatives and working with the police in Ciénaga de Oro to investigate the killing. CPJ called the Ciénaga de Oro police but no one answered.
On May 11, Interior Minister Luis Fernando Velasco tweeted that the government “rejects and regrets” the killing of Pereira and called on authorities to “work against the stigmatization of [journalists] who carry out this fundamental task for democracy.”