The Case of Jesœs Blancornelas

From CPJ’s Press Freedom Database

Journalist(s): Jesœs Blancornelas, Zeta
Attack Type: Attacked
Date: 11/27/97

Country: Mexico
Region: Americas

Blancornelas, co-editor of the Tijuana newsweekly Zeta, was severely injured in an attack that killed his bodyguard, Luis Valero. At 9:30 a.m., a man standing on the corner of Chula Vista and San Francisco streets in Tijuana opened fire on the red Ford Explorer in which Blancornelas was traveling on his way to Zeta‘s offices.

When Valeror attempted to turn the vehicle around, he was blocked by two cars, a green Pontiac on one side and a white Nissan on the other. Men in both cars began firing on Valero and Blancornelas’ car with automatic weapons. One gunman was killed in the crossfire. Blancornelas was hit four times. He was hospitalized and, on November 29, underwent surgery to remove a bullet fragment that had lodged near his spine.

Federal investigators identified the dead gunman as David Barr–n Corona, who went by the alias of C.H. In the week prior to the attack, Blancornelas had published an article in Zeta reporting that C.H. was the gunman in the killing of two Mexican soldiers on November 14. Corona, a U.S. resident who grew up in San Diego, was a reputed member of the “Mexican Mafia,” a U.S.-based prison gang that distributes heroin and cocaine in the United States. A few weeks prior to the attack, government bodyguards who had been assigned by Governor HŽctor Ter‡n Ter‡n to protect Blancornelas were removed.

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