Police officer suspected of murdering student in Guerrero, Mexico arrested

By April 16, 2024

Mexico City, Mexico — A police officer on the run for allegedly shooting a student from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College was arrested on April 10, according to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

On April 11, “David R” was arrested and remanded in custody. The two other police officers implicated in the murder were Francisco “N” and Sigifredo “N.” Both face charges for the crimes of homicide and attempted homicide and have already been indicted.

“All those who participated are already in prison. He [the police officer] was in a ranch, guarded, protected, in Guerrero, near Acapulco,” said López Obrador during his morning press conference on April 10. 

On March 7, 23-year-old Yanqui Kothan Gomez Peralta was shot in the head by police officers in Chilpancingo, Guerrero, in southeastern Mexico. 

Peralta, along with two other students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College, were driving back to Guerrero following a protest in Mexico City which sought justice for 43 Ayotzinapa students who were forcibly disappeared in 2014. 

A truth commission established by the government called the disappearance a “state crime” in 2022, and family members of the missing students have accused Lopez Obrador’s government of stonewalling the investigation into military and political figures related to the case. 

Read more: Investigation into Mexico’s 43 missing students ends, commission accuses government of stonewalling 

Gomez Peralta’s murder sparked renewed outrage over the case of the disappeared students, which has come to be known as a symbol for human rights abuse in Mexico. Protests erupted after Gomez Peralta’s killing, with students setting fire to police patrol cars, reported CBS News. 

Initially, the police and the state prosecutor’s office had claimed that Gomez Peralta and fellow students were driving a stolen vehicle and that they were the first to shoot at the police officers. This, however, was denied by the local government and the President of Mexico.  

Gomez Peralta’s murder aftermath 

Gomez Peralta’s murder opened a wound in Guerrero, the state where the 43 students were abducted and later forcibly disappeared, allegedly at the behest of local government officials, security forces, and organized crime. 

The young student’s murder sparked outrage and protests. Guerrero Governor Evelyn Salgado on March 20 fired Prosecutor Sandra Luz Valdovinos Salmerón, Secretary General Ludwig Marcial Reynoso Nuñez and Undersecretary of Human Rights Francisco Rodriguez Cisneros for allegedly constructing a false narrative that sought to paint Gomez Peralta and his fellow students as criminals who shot at police.

The governor, however, reinstated Reynoso Nuñez and Rodriguez Cisneros in different positions within the government on April 8, sparking violent demonstrations, in which students set fire to vehicles as well as the government palace in Guerrero. 

López Obrador on April 9 called for calm and warned that groups were trying to take advantage of the students’ families’ pain. 

“It is very good that there is rebellion and fighting for justice, but we should not allow ourselves to be manipulated because in one of those cases, instead of making the revolution, we make the counterrevolution,” he said.

The president also doubled down on his defense of the military and security forces as it relates to the Ayotzinapa case. 

“It is the whole narrative that has been created by the pseudo-human rights defenders who are dealing with this Ayotzinapa case … To smear the army,” said López Obrador.