A former medical student from the United States will be sentenced November 7 after pleading guilty to the attempted murder of a U.S. foreign service employee at a Guadalajara mall in January 2017.
Zia Zafar, 32, who was enrolled in the medical school at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia.
Zafar was arrested less than 48 hours after firing a single bullet at a car driven by U.S. vice consul Christopher Ashcraft as he left the Sania Plaza on Avenida Vallarta following a gym workout.
According to admissions made in connection with his plea, on January 6, 2017, Zafar – dressed in purple scrubs – armed himself with a firearm, donned a wig and sunglasses to disguise his appearance, and waited in the mall’s parking garage for Ashcraft.
A U.S. State Department press release notes that Zafar initially was following the vice consul as he walked toward his vehicle but noticed a security guard nearby, and instead moved to the vehicle exit ramp, where he waited for Ashcraft to emerge. “As the vice consul approached the exit in his car, Zafar fired a single shot into the vehicle, striking Ashcraft in his chest and leaving him in serious condition,” the press release said.
Zakir fled immediately after firing the shot.
The incident was captured on security footage and was widely reported in domestic and international media outlets, including this newspaper.