Sunday, August 7, 2011
Juárez police commander ambushed, killed in hail of gunfire
by Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera / El Paso Times
The municipal police commander for the downtown district in Juárez was killed Saturday morning after an ambush near the Bridge of the Americas.
Juárez municipal police spokesman Adrián Sánchez said Víctor Nazario Moreno Ramírez, 32, died around 8:20 a.m. after two trucks and two compact vehicles closed down and opened fire against his vehicle while driving on Cuatro Siglos Boulevard, almost below the international bridge.
Another officer who served as one of Moreno's personal guards and who wasn't identified was seriously injured and taken to a local hospital, Sánchez said.
State authorities said they recovered 420 bullet casings caliber 7.62x39 millimeters -- rounds commonly used with AK-47s -- at the scene.
Sánchez said the incident marked the first fatal attack against municipal police officers this month.
He said Moreno had been previously in charge of the Delta tactical preventive team, a special unit in charge of high-impact crime response and special operations.
Moreno was named commander of the downtown district on June 29.
The police downtown district was overhauled more than a month ago with the purpose of increasing patrolling and crime fighting in an area overrun with drug dealers and once considered off-limits to police.
Sánchez said downtown officers conducted several drug-related arrests and seized large amounts of marijuana and heroin under Moreno's leadership.
"Everything seems to suggest it was a direct attack against him," he said.
The gunfire was heard at the international bridge, where officers stopped incoming traffic for about an hour until the commotion calmed down. Regular traffic flow resumed around 9:20 a.m., Border Patrol officials said.