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(NEW YORK POST) – A Mexican politician who pledged to defy organized crime was shot dead as he posed for a picture with an admirer, according to reports and video.
Congressional candidate Fernando Purón had just finished an election debate in the border city of Piedras Negras on Friday night when a woman holding a selfie stick asked him to take a picture, the Vanguardia reported.
Surveillance footage posted by the outlet and on social media shows a bearded man in a baseball hat walking up behind the politician and shooting him point-blank in the back of the head. Purón, 43, crumbles to the ground as the phone’s flash goes off.
The married dad of one died on his way to the hospital.
Authorities said Monday they’d narrowed their search for the culprits to two men.
Purón, who was running to be a federal congressman for Coahuila, was the 112th political candidate to be murdered in Mexico since September 2017, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
More than 1,000 candidates have dropped out of local races ahead of the July 1 elections because they fear being gunned down.
Though the motive for his murder is still unknown, he’d received death threats during his 2014-2017 stint as mayor of Piedras Negras for defying the notoriously ruthless Zetas drug cartel.
Mexico registered a record 29,168 homicides in 2017 — the 11th year of the country’s crackdown on organized crime.
Drug cartels are suspected in many murders of politicians, which take place in regions already plagued by gang violence.
The murder of candidates “creates enormous insecurity, which is felt and bemoaned by the public — and it’s held up in the faces of the politicians for their incapacity to do anything about it,” said Federico Estevez, political science professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico.
“There’s no bigger example of failure out here today than that.”
During the debate, Purón, the Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate, had promised to take on crime head-on, The Guardian reported.
“You take on delinquency head-on — you don’t fear it, you call it for what it is,” he’d said. “Unfortunately, not all those in power do their job — some are even in cahoots with criminals.”
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