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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Photojournalist Shot To Death Outside His Home in Tijuana

The following is the direct text of an article written by journalist Wendy Fry for the newspaper The San Diego Union-Tribune that was published on January 17, 2022. 

TIJUANA — A Tijuana journalist who covered crime and security issues in the border city was shot to death Monday outside his home as he left for work.

Margarito Martínez Esquivel, who worked as a journalist and “fixer” assisting international outlets including the BBC, as well as for The San Diego Union-Tribune and Los Angeles Times, was shot three times, according to his wife, Elena.

Crime scene of shooting which killed journalist Margarito Martínez Esquivel. PHOTO CREDIT: BD News 24

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t do anything for him,” said Elena Martínez, crying outside the family’s home in the Camino Verde neighborhood of Tijuana. Martínez’s 16-year-old daughter heard the gunshots and found her father’s body by his car immediately following the shooting, Elena Martínez said.

Crime scene of shooting which killed journalist Margarito Martínez Esquivel. PHOTO CREDIT: American Post

Crime-scene investigators collected evidence while the National Guard was posted outside the area to maintain security around the family’s home. Hiram Sanchez Zamora, chief prosecutor for central Baja California, also arrived at the scene to conduct a formal investigation.

Mexican journalists expressed anger, grief and alarm Monday afternoon, as they gathered at the scene of the shooting. Martínez was the second journalist to be killed in the violence-stricken country since the start of the year. Jose Luis Gamboa, the director of the online news site Inforegio in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, reportedly suffered stab wounds in what may have been a robbery. He died at a hospital in the state capital on Jan. 10.

Margarito Martínez Esquivel. PHOTO CREDIT:  The San Diego Union-Tribune

Mexico is considered one of the most dangerous places for reporters outside active war zones. The Committee to Protect Journalists counts 134 killings of reporters in Mexico since 1992, for both motive-confirmed and motive-unconfirmed deaths, according to Mike Lettieri, a San Diego-based researcher who tracks security issues.

A month ago, Martinez had made an official complaint about threats he had received via Facebook pertaining to his work as a journalist, according to YoSíSoyPeriodista, a Mexican journalists’ organization. He was in the process of seeking government protection through the Federal Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, an agency formed in 2012 to address Mexico’s rising violence against activists and reporters.

PHOTO CREDIT: Margarito’s Facebook

“It’s unfortunately not that shocking that a journalist who had been threatened, had reported he felt at risk, and had sought protection through both NGOs and the Mexican federal government’s journalist protection system would have been killed — sadly, neither system has proven particularly effective when journalists are in danger,” said Lettieri.

Martínez, 49, was beloved by colleagues and known as fearless. Last year, he documented a shootout between two groups, putting his own safety at risk. Journalist chat groups for Baja California were flooded with messages of grief and support on Monday afternoon.

PHOTO CREDIT: Margarito’s Facebook

Some members of the media called on government officials to aggressively investigate the crime. Marina del Pilar Ávila Olmeda, governor of Baja California, issued a statement late Monday condemning the murder. “We trust in the work of the State Attorney General’s Office to resolve this unfortunate act and that it does not remain unpunished,” she said.

“This is a huge loss of a great colleague, who worked for many years for almost every single formal media outlet in Tijuana and Baja California,” said Sonia de Anda, a Tijuana journalist who runs the news site Esquina 32. “He was a journalist who was very well-known and well-respected by everyone.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Wendy Fry for The San Diego Union-Tribune


  1. The government has a system in place. Since 2012 to get bodyguards for journalist. I love the system, even though he reported the threats, the so called system let him down.
    Talk about politics. It's been years already that Congress of Mexico was debating on letting citizens at home have 38s for protection, bit I am still waiting.

    1. Mate most of these killings are driveby shootings you are long time dead before you even pull your own weapon. The moment of surprise is always on the attacker's side. Life ain't some movie where you gonna lucky luke style pull your weapon and kill everyone.(unless you are american ofc)

    2. @827, the great thing about 744 is he offers simple solutions for complex problems. Bang bang!

    3. 8:27 you bloody mate, journalist should be allowed to carry weapons. Sol carries Mac10 30 round magazine for self defense.

    4. 8:27 if you have a gun at leat you have a chance. If you see a group of men aprouch you with guns out and you feel threatened, you can pull it out and at least take one guy out. Without a gun your a sitting duck.

    5. 8:43 where in the fuken hell you read 7:44 is offering solutions.
      He is merely stating what the government of enpt Obrador is not doing, lol and you call that solution.

  2. Replies
    1. Why are journalist open season in Mexico ? If they report stories or not word still gets around that's what the crazy traffic people don't only more hea

  3. Looks like mexico is on its way to be the #1 country for killed journalist ones AGAIN.
    Meanwhile grandpa AMLO is blind to the violence in Mexico.
    I feel like a fool for even thinking he was going to change Mexico.
    Just onother crook in office like the presidents before him

  4. It is literally open season on ALL journalists in Mexico. Whether they use a pen or a camera they seem always at risk.I assume the reason they are out in the open and not hunkered down somewhere remotely sending in their stories is their perceived need to be local so as to accurately portray what is truly happening.I wonder if there is any possible way of building safe houses for journalists that would be protected under guard?? Idk the answers I only hope that someone will devise a safeguard system for the media members as the stories they tell most definitely need to be told.

  5. The daughter will grow up to become a police officer, will seek revenge on his father's killers.


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