The midnight ambush in San Luis Río Colorado claims the lives of journalist Jesús Gutiérrez Vergara and a police officer

Sonora's Attorney General probes ambush that claims two lives, including a renowned journalist, amid rising city violence.

In a tragic turn of events, the city of San Luis Río Colorado in Sonora, Mexico, witnessed a direct assault on its municipal police officers, resulting in the death of two individuals, including a prominent journalist, Jesús Gutiérrez Vergara, and a police officer. Sonora’s State Attorney General’s Office (FGE) has since launched a probe into this violent incident.

In the Aviación neighborhood, just past midnight on September 25, Vergara, also known as Chuy and director of the Facebook news page “Notiface,” was engaged in a conversation outside his residence with a group of off-duty municipal police officers. Among them was the Chief of Transit, a neighbor of Vergara. Suddenly, the gathering was ambushed, leaving three officers injured, with two in critical condition. Both Vergara and an officer succumbed to their gunshot injuries.

Authorities responded quickly, initiating a coordinated search operation across governmental levels to bring the perpetrators, who escaped in a black Toyota RAV 4, to justice. The identities of the attackers and their motives remain under investigation.

The journalist talked to the policemen when the attack occurred (X/@elchiltepin).
The journalist talked to the policemen when the attack occurred (X/@elchiltepin).

Who was Jesús Gutiérrez Vergara?

Aged 47, Vergara was known for his close association with the police force and was widely acclaimed for his real-time broadcasts on social media platforms, frequently from crime scenes. Apart from his professional endeavors, he advocated for local businesses.

The untimely demise of this renowned journalist sent shockwaves through the community. San Luis Río Colorado’s councilwoman, Rebecca Ching Hurtado, expressed her deep condolences on social media, writing: “To his colleagues, friends, and family, words are lacking in this moment of pain. I am so sorry. We demand justice. Rest In Peace.”

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The news page Vergara headed, “Notiface Prensa Digital de San Luis,” shared an image of him with a heartfelt message: “It is speculated, it is rumored, it is said, it is believed that they killed the best journalist. We will love you forever, Daddy.” This post garnered significant attention, with scores of followers sharing their grief and condolences.

Councilwoman confirmed the murder of journalist during the attack on police officers (X/@RebekaCh).
Councilwoman confirmed the murder of a journalist during the attack on police officers (X/@RebekaCh).

A surge in violence in Sonora

Recent events paint a grim picture of the increasing violence in San Luis Río Colorado. Just three days prior to this incident, the same municipality was the backdrop for two separate confrontations, which left four dead, including a woman, and two injured.

Adding to the city’s woes, two municipal police officers were detained by the Sonora Prosecutor’s Office, with the support of the Secretary of National Defense (Sedena) and the Navy. They face allegations related to the forced disappearance of 27-year-old Rafael Gaspar Alvarado Espinosa.

Statistics from the Citizen Committee for Public Safety (CCSP) further underscore the city’s deteriorating safety situation. San Luis Río Colorado ranks second in intentional homicides for the current quarter, trailing only Cajeme. The city has seen a spike in such incidents, with the tally rising from 36 to 46 between April and June.