Marco Antonio Ayala Cárdenas

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Ayala, a photographer for El Caleño newspaper, was shot and killed by two assassins on a motorcycle while he was leaving a photo developing shop near the newspaper, authorities said.

Ayala, 43, died instantly after being shot in the head six times. He had worked at the newspaper in Cali, Colombia’s third-largest city, for four years.

Even though Capt. Mónica Quiroz of the Cali Police Department said that there was no known motive for the attack, an El Caleño editor said Ayala might have been killed because of a photo published last December.

The editor, Luis Fernando García, reported that Ayala had taken a photo at the annual Cali Fair that inadvertently showed a local criminal figure with his mistress. Following the photograph’s publication on December 23, 2001, the man’s wife allegedly called Ayala requesting a copy. Ayala was leaving the developing shop with the photograph when he was gunned down, according to García.

Blanca María Torres, El Caleño‘s managing editor, told CPJ that the identity of the man in the photo is not clear.

In December, spokespersons for the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Cali and Bogotá declined to discuss the case beyond saying that it was still under investigation.