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Juarez police chief escapes attack

By Nick Valencia, CNN
Lt. Col. Julian Leyzaola was on patrol when he was attacked by gunman. He was not injured in the attack.
Lt. Col. Julian Leyzaola was on patrol when he was attacked by gunman. He was not injured in the attack.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Lt. Col. Julian Leyzaola happened upon extortion in progress, mayor says
  • Leyzaola was on patrol as part of his new role in Ciudad Juarez
  • Juarez is hot spot of Mexican drug violence
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(CNN) -- The top cop in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, escaped a "sneak attack" by gunmen early Thursday while on patrol in the city, the Juarez mayor told reporters.

Lt. Col. Julian Leyzaola was not injured in the attack. One of the gunmen was injured by return fire from police.

The gunmen were carrying out extortion on a local business when Leyzaola's patrol coincidentally came across the incident, according to Juarez Mayor Hector "Teto" Murguia.

"If the criminals resist giving up ... well then there will be incidents of confrontation. Until what point? As long as necessary," Leyzaola said in an interview earlier this month with CNN in Juarez.

On the job for barely three months, the new police chief of Ciudad Juarez -- the globally recognized hot spot in Mexico's drug wars -- predicted bold changes in his new border home and said confidentially during the interview: "The police will regain the city."

"The municipal police is still standing ... and will continue fighting," Murguia said after the attack. "The municipal police, particularly the lieutenant colonel, confirm that they will clean up this historic city," Murguia said.