ENSENADA – A city councilman was shot to death early Sunday, state authorities reported.
The body of the victim, Arturo Castellanos Ruiz, was found shortly after midnight on a street in the Hidalgo neighborhood southeast of downtown Ensenada. Investigators found 12 shell casings at the scene. A Ford pickup 250, presumably used in the killing, was found abandoned two blocks away.
According to preliminary reports, the councilman was walking to his car when he was ambushed.
Castellanos Ruiz, 49, a member of the PRI party, had been a councilman since Dec. 1.
State police investigating the murder did not offer a possible motive, however, noted that it bore the markings of organized crime.
In a statement issued Sunday, Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante, also a member of the PRI, lamented the killing and reaffirmed the commitment of all levels of government to work together to “maintain the peace and tranquility citizens demand.”
Elected officials have been the target of organized crime groups. Since the start of President Felipe Calderon’s administration, a total of 21 mayors have been killed nationwide, two in January alone, and 12 last year.
In an interview two weeks before taking office in November, Tijuana’s Mayor Carlos Bustamante said he feared becoming a victim of an attack.
“I believe the attacks against city officials are part of program of intimidation carried out by organized crime against the government. I do worry, but I try not to linger over it, because you can’t be thinking defensively all the time.”