Mexico City, Mar 17 (EFE).- Investigators have identified two suspects in the murder earlier this week of journalist Armando Linares in the western state of Michoacan, Mexico’s deputy security secretary said Thursday.
“There are very significant advances,” Ricardo Mejia Berdeja said at President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s daily morning press conference in the capital.
A federal task force working with assist Michoacan authorities were able “to recover indicates and evidence that permits us to visually identify the material authors,” the deputy secretary said.
Linares, director of the news website Monitor Michoacan, was gunned down Tuesday outside his home in Zitacuaro as his family looked on in horror.
Mejia reiterated Lopez Obrador’s comments on Wednesday that Linares had declined an offer of protection, extended to the director after another Monitor journalists was killed.
“I emphasize that this deceased person, whose death we very much condemn and regret, was offered both the state mechanism for protection of journalists and the national mechanism on several occasions,” Mejia said. “He rejected any protection measure.”
Two colleagues of Linares who enrolled in the protection mechanism have been relocated from Michoacan, the deputy secretary said.
Mejia used images – apparently captured by security cameras – as he offered a chronology of the crime.
The selection included views of two “falcons” – underworld slang for lookouts – riding past Linares’ home on a motorcycle and subsequently talking to some of the journalist’s neighbors.
An hour after the falcons’ reconnaissance, a man wearing a black suit and red tie approached Linares outside the house and the two men shook hands, indicating that the assailant was an acquaintance of the victim.
After chatting for a few moments, the man in the suit and Linares began walking toward the front door, at which point the first man and a second assailant drew guns and shot Linares.
Article 19, a press freedom organization, says that seven Mexican journalists have been slain in connection with their work so far this year.
Mejia said Thursday that 16 people have been arrested for those crimes. EFE mqb/dr