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Mexican journalist shot dead in northern state of Chihuahua

March 23, 2017 GMT
Forensic workers work on the scene where journalist Miroslava Breach was shot and killed outside her home in Chihuahua, Mexico, Thursday, March 23, 2017. Breach was gunned down in the northern state of Chihuahua on Thursday, becoming the third journalist to be killed this month in one of the most dangerous countries for media workers. (El Diario de Chihuahua via AP)
Forensic workers work on the scene where journalist Miroslava Breach was shot and killed outside her home in Chihuahua, Mexico, Thursday, March 23, 2017. Breach was gunned down in the northern state of Chihuahua on Thursday, becoming the third journalist to be killed this month in one of the most dangerous countries for media workers. (El Diario de Chihuahua via AP)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexican reporter was gunned down in the northern state of Chihuahua on Thursday, becoming the third journalist to be killed this month in one of the most dangerous countries for media workers.

The national newspaper La Jornada said Miroslava Breach, its correspondent in the state capital, also called Chihuahua, was shot eight times outside her garage in the morning and died while being taken to the hospital.

La Jornada said Breach, 54, was accompanied in the car by one of her three children at the time of the attack.

“Presumably there was at least one attacker who approached on foot when the La Jornada correspondent was taking her son to school and fired a .38-caliber (gun),” it said. “Eight shells were found lying in the street.”

The boy was reportedly not harmed.

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According to La Jornada, Breach had worked for the paper for more than 15 years and also for other newspapers in the cities of Chihuahua and Juarez. It reported that a rolled-up cardboard message was left at the scene saying “for being a tattletale.”

In a statement, the Chihuahua state prosecutor’s office confirmed the killing and said it was investigating.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said Breach had covered crime, politics and other issues.

“She was a highly respected reporter,” tweeted Jan-Albert Hootsen, the group’s Mexico representative.

According to the CPJ, 38 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1992 for motives confirmed as directly related to their work. Another 50 have been slain under circumstances that have yet to be clarified.

On March 19, columnist Ricardo Monlui was shot twice as he left a restaurant with his wife and son in Yanga, near the city of Cordoba in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz.

And on March 2, Cecilio Pineda Birto, a freelancer and the founder of La Voz de Tierra Caliente, was slain at a car wash in Ciudad Altamirano, Guerrero state.

Carlos Lauria, Americas director at the CPJ, said he has no evidence linking the three killings this month. But he called Breach’s case “very alarming” and part of a pattern of journalists being murdered with impunity in the country.

“The situation really remains dire for Mexico, for the Mexican press,” Lauria said. “It goes and comes in waves, but the reality is that especially for reporters working outside Mexico City, the levels of violence are unprecedented.”

Killings of journalists who work for national outlets like La Jornada, one of Mexico’s main daily newspapers, are relatively uncommon. More often the victims are reporters for smaller, local media.

Organized crime groups have a strong presence in Chihuahua state, which borders Texas and New Mexico. Earlier this week at least seven people were killed a series of shootouts between drug gangs in the state.

At least two other journalists have been killed in or near Chihuahua city, most recently radio reporter Jesus Adrian Rodriguez Samaniego on Dec. 10, 2016.

Mexico has also seen its overall homicide rates on the rise recently.

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