Skip to main content

Slaying highlights violence at Mexican tourist hotspot

From Journalist Salomon Kaufman and Catherine Shoichet, CNN
updated 6:46 AM EST, Mon February 25, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Violence in Acapulco made headlines recently when hooded men allegedly raped six tourists
  • Early Saturday, a Belgian national died of a gunshot wound to the chest
  • The state of Guerrero is one of the most dangerous places in Mexico
  • Overall, violence in Mexico appears to be on the decline

Acapulco, Mexico (CNN) -- A Belgian national has become the latest casualty in a popular Mexican tourist destination plagued by violence.

Jan KM Sarens, 59, died from a gunshot wound to the chest at a shopping center in Acapulco before dawn Saturday, prosecutors say.

A high-profile rape case three weeks ago cast a spotlight on the resort city in Guerrero state. Hooded gunmen allegedly burst into a beach bungalow and accosted six women from Spain after tying up their male companions.

For years, Guerrero has ranked among the Mexican states with the highest homicide rates. Last year, it had more reported gun murders than any other state in Mexico: more than 1,600, according to a federal government tally released last month.

Community police take on Mexican cartels

Major drug cartels are part of a deep-seated security problem in the region, said Alejandro Hope, a security analyst at the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness think tank. Large cartels have fragmented, and the resulting smaller gangs are battling each other over turf in the Pacific port city and the surrounding state.

Sarens had temporary resident status in the country and worked in Mexico City, the Guerrero attorney general's office said in a statement.

At the time of his killing, the Mexican army, navy, and federal and state police were patrolling the area to beef up security for the Mexican Open professional tennis tournament.

Nationwide, official figures indicate violence in Mexico may be declining. In 2012, there were 20,568 intentional homicides across the country, an 8.5% decrease from 2011.

CNN's Ben Brumfield contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:01 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
updated 1:00 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
China's Xi Jinping and India's Narendra Modi, leaders of the most populous nations face similar challenges. Can they learn from each other?
updated 6:36 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
The U.S. is not returning combat troops to Iraq, President Barack Obama insists.
updated 8:38 PM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
A man abducted alongside killed U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff tells CNN that no one from the U.S. government has tried to talk with him.
updated 11:08 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Mulatu Astatke is the founding father of ethio-jazz: a fusion of Ethiopian music with western jazz.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Have you been to these? The global museum list, released Tuesday, ranks 25 of the world's best museums.
updated 1:03 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
iOS 8, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, comes with new features that you'll enjoy.
updated 5:27 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Psychedelic drugs are being researched as a potential treatment for conditions ranging from anxiety to tobacco and alcohol addiction.
updated 9:42 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
It's a surfer's paradise -- but Diah Rahayu is out on her own when it comes to professional women's wave-riding in Bali.
updated 10:09 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
updated 12:20 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT