Ciudad Juárez, CHIHUAHUA – Ismael Villagómez Tapia, a photojournalist working for El Heraldo de Juárez, was fatally shot early Thursday morning in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. He is the seventh journalist murdered in Mexico so far this year for their professional work.
According to initial police reports, the shooting occurred around 1:50 a.m. at the intersection of Sinaloa Street and Artículo 27 Street in the Francisco Sarabia neighborhood.
Villagómez Tapia, known as “Tiguer” to his colleagues, had over 20 years of experience in journalism and currently works as a photographer for El Heraldo de Juárez.
Although authorities did not reveal his identity, colleagues recognized Villagómez when they found his body in a grey Hyundai vehicle in the driver’s seat. His body had gunshot wounds to the left side, neck, and head.
Varied Beat, From General Events to Crime
Villagómez’s journalism coverage was not concentrated on any specific area. He reported on everything from general events to crime information.
El Heraldo de Juárez has publicly acknowledged the death of their collaborator, though so far, there have been no further statements from the publication itself or other journalists.
Would Be 7th Journalist Murdered This Year
If it is proven that he was murdered for his work, Villagómez would be the seventh journalist assassinated so far this year in Mexico in connection with their job:
- Gerardo Torres Rentería, a former Telemundo cameraman, was murdered outside his home in Acapulco, Guerrero, on May 11.
- On May 23, Marco Aurelio Ramírez, a journalist from Tehuacán, Puebla, was murdered while driving his car in this city.
- Pablo Salgado, a radio broadcaster, was murdered in the car in which he was traveling in Iguala, Guerrero, on June 2.
- On July 8, Luis Martín Sánchez Iñiguez, correspondent of La Jornada and contributor to the portal criticadn.mx was taken from his home in Tepic Nayarit on July 5 and found dead on Saturday, July 8.
- Nelson Matus, director and founder of the portal Lo Real de Guerrero. He was murdered outside a store in Acapulco on July 15.
- Jesús Gutiérrez Vergara was killed in an attack against municipal police in San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora, on September 25.
- On November 16, Ismael Villagómez Tapia, a photojournalist with OEM’s El Heraldo de Juárez, was murdered in the early hours of the morning as he was arriving home in Ciudad Juárez.
Just last week, Mexico hosted the annual General Assembly of the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), which stated in a report that “violence continued to be the main threat” to journalism in the country in 2023, in addition to denouncing the “hostile discourse” of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Outcry From Journalists
Journalists and colleagues of Villagómez have condemned his murder on social media and demanded justice.
The Ciudad Juárez Journalists Association (APCJ) issued a public statement saying:
“We express our deepest condolences to his family and stand with them in their pain. We reiterate the demand that his death be clarified to the last consequences… We demand from the corresponding authorities, total support for the family and that immediate care measures be taken for the protection of working journalists.”
The investigation into Villagómez’s murder remains ongoing. Authorities have not yet determined a motive or any suspects.