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Mexican activist who counted murders in his violence-plagued city is himself killed

A niece of slain activist Adolfo Enriquez Vanderkam shouts asking for justice, at his funeral in Leon, Guanajuato state, Mexico, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023. Enriquez Vanderkam was shot Wednesday night as he was leaving a taco shop.
Mario Armas
/
AP
A niece of slain activist Adolfo Enriquez Vanderkam shouts asking for justice, at his funeral in Leon, Guanajuato state, Mexico, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023. Enriquez Vanderkam was shot Wednesday night as he was leaving a taco shop.

MEXICO CITY — An activist who documented murders in one of Mexico’s deadliest cities has himself been killed, authorities confirmed Wednesday.

Adolfo Enríquez was killed in the city of Leon, in north-central Guanajuato state. The city has the third-highest number of homicides in Mexico, trailing only the border cities of Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez.

Enríquez described himself on his social media profiles as an “activist, demanding a country with the rule of law.”

READ MORE: Mexico's Acapulco grows desperate for help after Hurricane Otis ravaged the area

For years, Enríquez has posted a simple, moving tally of each murder in Leon, writing just hours before his death that “murder number 55 in Leon so far in November just occurred in the Margaritas neighborhood.”

He himself became murder victim number 56 late Tuesday, local police confirmed, without providing details on the attack. State prosecutors confirmed his death and said it was under investigation.

Local media reported Enríquez was shot to death after leaving a restaurant, and that the attacker fled on a motorcycle.

The number of murders in Leon in November was not remarkable. In October, the city saw 64 murders, according to official figures.

Enríquez also posted videos of crimes like robberies and muggings, and appealed to the public for help in identifying the thieves.

He rose to national attention after he posted a compelling, tragic security camera video of the stabbing death of a woman in Leon in August. The video helped spur authorities into action and arrest the man who attacked her.

Leon is an industrial hub which, like the rest of Guanajuato, has been the scene of bloody turf battles between the Jalisco drug cartel and local gangs backed by the Sinaloa cartel.

Crimes against activists in Mexico are depressingly common.

Six volunteer search activists who looked for disappeared relatives have been killed in Mexico since 2021.

In perhaps the most famous case involving those who documented drug cartel violence, blogger Maria Elizabeth Macías was murdered in 2011 in the northern border state of Tamaulipas. Her body was found along with a note purportedly signed by the Zetas cartel: “Here I am because of my reports.” A computer keyboard and headphones lay next to her severed head.

According to a 2022 report by the nongovernmental group Global Witness, Mexico was the deadliest place in the world for environmental and land defense activists in 2021, with 54 killed that year.

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The Associated Press
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