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
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
The reported firing of artillery from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle, says CNN's military analyst Rick Francona.
updated 4:46 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
The young boy stops, stares, throws ammunition casings at the reporter's feet without a word.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
A picture taken on June 28, 2014 shows a member of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) putting on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry, where people infected with the Ebola virus are being treated. The World Health Organization has warned that Ebola could spread beyond hard-hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to neighbouring nations, but insisted that travel bans were not the answer.
The worst ebola outbreak in history spreads out of control in West Africa. CNN's Michael Holmes reports.
updated 8:48 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
updated 2:08 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT