He Kept a Murder Tally, Became Victim No. 56

Mexican activist Adolfo Enríquez was killed in Leon on Tuesday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 24, 2023 8:40 AM CST
He Kept a Murder Tally, Became Victim No. 56
Friends and family of slain activist Adolfo Enriquez Vanderkam carry his coffin 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.   (AP Photo/Mario Armas)

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." 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."

The AP reports 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.

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.

(More Mexico stories.)

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