A Canadian citizen was shot to death by an unknown assailant Friday, February 1 around 12:20 p.m. on the outskirts of San Antonio Tlayacapan.
The name of the victim and some other details of the crime have not been revealed publicly in accordance with legal stipulations concerning the investigation and prosecution of criminal matters in Mexico.
A press bulletin issued by the Chapala government on Monday indicated that municipal police and the local Red Cross arrived at the scene to discover that the 78-year-old man had expired prior to their arrival.
The official communiqué went on to state, “We condemn any act of violence against our inhabitants, deeply lament the loss and offer our condolences and support to the relatives and friends of the victim.”
While the case was immediately handed over to state authorities for investigation, determination of a motive and search for the culprit, the local government has reportedly beefed up police vigilance in the vicinity of the crime scene and made contact with the Canadian Consulate to offer whatever collaboration may be needed.
To date, Chapala City Hall has not planned any specific outreach to the foreign community to address public security concerns.
Through information obtained from outside sources, this newspaper has pieced together a probable chain of events.
The victim was known as a long-time winter season resident who was living at the Birds of Paradise complex with his wife of many years. He left home around noon, heading off on foot along the Libramiento to a nearby shopping center for a dental appointment.
It appears that he was accosted at a point just past the El Dorado condominium tower and forced to walk a short distance down an unpaved path that connects with Calle Allen W. Lloyd in front of the San Antonio cemetery.
Several witnesses walking from the opposite direction reported hearing two gunshots, seeing the victim fall to the ground and watching his attacker appear out of the brush and fire again straight at the helpless man’s head. The perpetrator, whose face was hidden under a gray hooded sweat shirt, dashed off into the distance as the witnesses approached to come to the victim’s aid.
The identities of the witnesses remain secret for obvious reasons to protect their safety.
Police were able to identify the victim and notify his next of kin through personal documents in a billfold found on his body.
Acts of remembrance
Concerned residents rallied soon after news of the killing began circulating through social networks. Friends of the victim have provided assistance and comfort to his spouse.
Others responded to a call to assist in clearing away overgrown brush along the foot path that gives cover to would-be crooks. The rocky track is frequently utilized by pedestrians who take it as a short cut to San Antonio from residential zones along the Libramiento. Several walkers have reportedly been approached by suspicious individuals there over the past several months.
Early Thursday, February 7 the municipal government dispatched a work crew to the area to remove overgrown weeds and bushes. About 50 local residents gathered simultaneously along the way to offer a tribute to their fallen neighbor and solidarity with his widow and adult son who were in attendance.
During the brief ceremony Pastor Ken Armstrong led them in prayer, while bagpiper David Warren performed a musical lament. Participants gathered stones to lay down a temporary marker at the crime scene where a permanent memorial will be erected at a later date. The spot was adorned with flowers, a red kerchief with white maple leaves and a simple cross fashioned from sticks.