Skip to main content

Slaying highlights violence at Mexican tourist hotspot

From Journalist Salomon Kaufman and Catherine Shoichet, CNN
February 25, 2013 -- Updated 1146 GMT (1946 HKT)
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
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0023 GMT (0823 HKT)
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0823 GMT (1623 HKT)
He should be toddling around a playground. Instead, his tiny hands grip an AK-47.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1031 GMT (1831 HKT)
CNN's Will Ripley travels to North Korea, visiting an international wrestling festival and a slide-filled water park, said to be a pet project of secretive young leader Kim Jong Un.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0920 GMT (1720 HKT)
Our whole solar system appears to be inside a searing gas bubble, scientists say.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
In a raid on a luxury apartment complex in France, agents caught up with Ibrahim Boudina, a French-Algerian man they accuse of bringing back Syrian-schooled terror to Europe.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0002 GMT (0802 HKT)
One journalist murdered, another still being held by ISIS -- a ransom negotiator talks to CNN about the delicate business of trying to get a hostage home alive.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1402 GMT (2202 HKT)
The accidental killing of a gun instructor raises an "absurd question," writes Mel Robbins.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1228 GMT (2028 HKT)
Was a police officer justified in shooting and killing Michael Brown?
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
Don't like the country you live in? Meet the people who created their own "micronations."
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0946 GMT (1746 HKT)
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
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