A prominent Mexican newspaper columnist and members of his family were shot dead when unidentified armed assailants invaded their home early on Monday morning.
Miguel Ángel López Velasco, a well-known writer for the daily publication Notiver, was killed along with his wife and their 21-year-old son, the paper said. The assailants were reported to have forced their way into the home at around 5:30am, breaking down the front door and storming the property as the family slept.
Notiver condemned the attack as a "cowardly execution" and urged authorities to take immediate action in order to apprehend the perpetrators. The state's governor has pledged to investigate what he described as "an attack against the whole of our society".
Using the pen name Milo Vela, the 55-year-old wrote a column in Notiver on crime and political issues in the state of Velacruz. Colleagues and other local media workers said that López's columns may have brought him to the attention of those engaged in criminal activities.
The slaying of López was quickly condemned by media watchdog groups operating in the region and internationally.
"Not only has [López] apparently paid with his life for his reporting on organised crime, but so have his wife and child," said Anthony Mills of the International Press Institute (IPI).
"The chilling callousness with which these murders were carried out tragically highlights the plight of journalists in Mexico today, where the rule of law is absent, and impunity reigns supreme."
Several press freedom advocacy groups - including the IPI, Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists - have listed Mexico as among the deadliest countries for media workers in recent times. The IPI's research shows that twelve Mexican journalists were killed last year.
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