On Friday, Mexico got a grim reminder of who is really in charge there.
As Mexico City Police Chief Omar Garcia Harfuch was on his way to work, he was ambushed by roughly a dozen gunmen in what appears to be an assassination attempt, the Guardian reported. Three other people were killed and the chief was rushed to the hospital after being shot three times.
Both the nature of the attack and where it took place have shaken the entire country.
The police chief was traveling on a road that is home to numerous embassies and is considered to be a safe area.
On this day, however, assassins who were reportedly disguised as road workers suddenly opened fire. When the smoke cleared, the chief’s SUV was riddled with bullets. Two bodyguards and one female bystander who were caught in the crossfire were killed.
The police chief is recovering from his injuries in a Mexico City hospital.
According to a New York Times report, a dozen people were arrested following the assassination attempt.
Vanda Felbab-Brown, an expert on organized crime at the Brookings Institution stated, “This is a dramatic breach of what would be considered one of the most guarded, safest zones of the city. It’s a massive tactical lapse to allow a government official of this importance to end up with three bullets in him.”
Hugs not bullets
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the current Mexican president, won a landslide victory in the last election promising to change the way the country treated the cartels. He vowed to end the never-ending war on drugs by fighting crime with “hugs not bullets.”
His method is clearly not working, as Mexico hit a record high of more than 34,000 murders last year, according to Fox News.
Even so, President López Obrador believes the attack on the police chief is proof that his methods are working. “All of this is undoubtedly related to the work that is being done to guarantee peace and tranquility in both Mexico City and the country as a whole,” he stated.
This is the second attack on a high-level public official in Mexico during the past month. Last week, Federal Judge Uriel Villegas Ortiz and his wife, Veronica Barajas were killed in an attack that has been linked to the New Generation Jalisco Cartel.