BORDERLAND BEAT — Puebla (Mexico) (AFP) – A mayor was shot dead in Mexico’s central Puebla state, the third mayor to be killed within two weeks, authorities said Tuesday, prompting calls for better security for municipal officials.
Jose Santamaria Zavala, the mayor of Huehuetlan El Grande, was found dead Monday night next to his bullet-riddled sport-utility vehicle, according to a police report obtained by AFP.
The bullets came from a 9mm-caliber handgun, the Puebla state prosecutor’s office said in a statement. The mayor’s body was found inside his SUV at kilometer 10 of the highway to Huehuetlan El Grande in a village called Tonale.
“Both the victim and the vehicle had bullet holes from a 9 mm handgun,” the AG’s office said in a statement.
The motive for the mayor’s murder may have been robbery, but investigators are looking at other possible reasons, the AG’s office said.
The initial investigation indicates Santamaria Zavala, 44, was the victim of a robbery attempt, the statement said, adding that authorities were not ruling out other motives.
“There were rocks on the road to block the path of the SUV,” it said, citing evidence and the testimony of an unidentified person who was with the mayor.