Someone wanted to kill Renato López. That’s the conclusion that prosecutors in the state of Mexico have reached after a week-long investigation into the brutal shooting of the Mexican actor, songwriter and television host inside his car.
Why the 33-year-old celebrity was killed is still unclear. What is obvious, however, is that even though he was traveling with his representative Omar Girón – who also died in the shooting – the criminals were going specifically after Renato.
There was no robbery and no kidnapping, just a direct attack, authorities told this newspaper. Renato López was shot 13 times, much more than was necessary to kill him.
His death has shaken Mexico’s arts scene. López was in the middle of a promotional campaign for his new movie, Macho (or, Male), which premiered on November 11. In it, López plays a homosexual man. “Soy macho, pero no soy machista,” (“I am a male, but I am not sexist”) he said in the last interview before his death.
The problem we have now is that organized crime is permeating in from nearby municipalities
Naucalpán city official
On the day of his murder, he had been scheduled to appear on a television program. But he never made it to the station.
The bodies were found on Thursday night. The authorities are sure that the victims did not put up a fight – their seat belts were still buckled.
The killing took place in Jilotzingo, a municipality of around 14,000 residents located 60 kilometers from the capital, in the state of Mexico. This is an area that is teeming with regional drug cartels, and investigators are considering the possibility that the attackers were members of local narcotics gangs.
Relatives who filed the missing persons report said that López had arranged to meet a man on Wednesday afternoon in Atizapán de Zaragoza – located 16 kilometers from the spot where the bodies were found – for work-related issues.
When they got to the arranged meeting point, Girón told the client that the area seemed depopulated and unsafe. “We are at the agreed point in the Esmeralda area, this is very empty and we are afraid that the people will not get here in time,” reads the police report, as cited by some local media.
The unsolved crime adds to the concerns of Mexico City residents, especially in the western portion of the greater metropolitan area, where extreme violence has been hitting hard.
The place where the bodies were found is just a 20-minute drive away from the spot where a Spanish woman, María Villar, was found dead after being kidnapped outside her workplace in mid-September.
A similar distance to the south, the bodies of two women turned up inside some suitcases. And in early November, in a nearby municipality, the body of a 10-year-old girl was found inside a plastic bag.
Horacio Jiménez, the city secretary in Naucalpan, west of the capital, has admitted to EL PAÍS that the area has serious security problems and that these appear to be spreading from town to town.
“Naucalpan is part of an entity that includes eight of the 50 most dangerous municipalities in the country,” he noted. “The problem we have now is that organized crime is permeating in from nearby municipalities. We already have street patrols from every force: the police, the army and the marines.”
One of the eight municipalities mentioned by Jiménez is Jilotzingo, the same one where Renato López was killed.
English version by Susana Urra.