A Mexican journalist who covered crime for a local newspaper has become the 17th journalist killed in the southern state of Veracruz in the last six years.
Attackers shot 48-year-old Pedro Tamayo multiple times in front of his wife and two children, just steps away from his home. He died while receiving medical attention in a hospital, Veracruz's prosecutor's office said in a statement.
Tamayo had received death threats for his reporting in an area controlled by the Zetas drug cartel, known as Tierra Blanca. He initially fled to Oaxaca, but returned when the Veracruz authorities promised to investigate his case and provide him with police protection. But that did not stop attackers from shooting him eight times.
"According to extra official reports, a lone man arrived to Tamayo's house in a grey car," local newspaper El Piñero de la Cuenca reported. "After committing the crime, the offender fled the scene in an unknown direction."
Local newspapers like Al Calor Político and El Piñero de la Cuenca frequently published Tamayo's work on violence in his municipality. Sometimes he wrote under the pseudonym En la línea de fuego, or In the line of fire.
"Outrage means nothing to our demands for justice for this series of aggressions against reporters in Veracruz," read El Piñero de la Cuenca's story about Tamayo's death. "Rest in peace, colleague Tamayo."
In June 2014 Tamayo covered the finding and exhumation of 35 bodies in clandestine graves located in the Tres Valles municipality, reported AFP. The victims were allegedly killed by the Zetas cartel.
Mexico is one of the world's most dangerous nations for journalists. Press freedom group Article 19 says 94 journalists have been killed in the country since 2000. Veracruz turned particularly deadly after Governor Javier Duarte took office in 2010. The governor has been linked to a series of corruption scandals and been accused of having connections to organized crime.
The statement by the state prosecutor's office said it found 9mm shells near where Tamayo was killed, taking the total number murdered under Duarte's governorship to 17. It also said that it already knew the characteristics of the car used by attackers and added that the office will not rule out any line of investigation, including Tamayo's journalistic work.
This marks a departure from the usual way that the Veracruz authorities have sought to dismiss most of the murders of journalists in the state as unrelated to their journalism, often claiming they were crimes of passion.
Follow Karla Casillas on Twitter: @karlacasillas20