Silva and a companion were shot to death in the central Mexican state of Puebla shortly after the reporter had gathered information on a large-scale gasoline theft and then witnessed a stand-off between soldiers and gunmen, according to news reports and CPJ interviews. Silva covered the local police beat for several small local newspapers.
Eloísa Rodríguez Zamora, a local radio reporter, said Silva had been covering an army investigation into the theft of gasoline from a government petroleum company in the town of Tehuacán. Theft of gasoline from government pipelines is common in the area, which is controlled by organized crime groups, according to local journalists.
After leaving the scene, Silva called Rodríguez to say he had seen an armed stand-off between soldiers at a nearby roadblock and gunmen in an SUV and a Ford Lobo pickup truck, she said. It was unclear if the confrontation was related to the gasoline theft. She said that Silva told her that he had found something very important at the scene of the theft but would explain later. Six minutes later, Rodríguez said, she heard from police reports that a man had been shot at that location.
Silva was shot as he sat in the driver's seat, local journalists told CPJ. His passenger, Misray López González, ran for a block but was also shot to death, the journalists said.
The motive for the killings was not immediately clear, although journalists speculated that it could have been related to Silva's reporting on the series of gasoline thefts or because he could have identified the gunmen in the stand-off.
Local reporters told CPJ that the presence of organized crime groups has made journalists extremely cautious about what they cover, fearing retaliation if their coverage angers the criminals. They said that as far as they knew, Silva had not been threatened by organized crime groups.