Crime and Violence

Mexican congressman from Jalisco found dead in Zacatecas

Gabriel Gómez Michel. Photo: Milenio.
Gabriel Gómez Michel. Photo: Milenio.

09/28/14 — The bodies of a federal congressman from the state of Jalisco and his aide were found charred in an abandoned pickup truck in the neighboring state of Zacatecas. On Monday, September 22, Deputy Gabriel Gómez Michel (49) of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI) and his assistant, Heriberto Núñez Campos, were kidnapped while driving in the outskirts of Guadalajara. Several vehicles surrounded Gómez’s SUV, bringing his car to a stop, and then armed men kidnapped the congressman and his assistance inside, a coordinated attack that took less than 55 seconds. On September 23, the victims’ bodies were then found charred in Zacatecas, though it is not clear if that as the cause of death. Their identities were confirmed the day after when DNA tests were conducted.

Authorities have not yet identified suspects or motive, though investigations are underway with the Federal Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) and the Jalisco Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado, PGJE). However, it is largely assumed to be connected to an organized crime group (OCG) given the high level of coordination and planning the attack displayed, and the high-powered firearms involved. The entire kidnapping was caught on film from a highway security camera—a video that Jalisco Attorney General Luis Carlos Nájera publicly released on September 25. Nájero’s counterpart in Zacatecas, Arturo Nahle, commented on the video, saying, “This is a classic organized crime execution. You only have to see the video, the weapons they’re carrying, the number of people involved in the kidnapping and later in the execution. They didn’t even talk with the families to demand a ransom.”

An image captured from the highway security cameras show men in the white vehicles surround Deputy Gómez's SUV during the kidnapping in Guadalajara. Photo: SDP Noticias.
An image captured from the highway security cameras show men in the white vehicles surround Deputy Gómez’s SUV during the kidnapping in Guadalajara. Photo: SDP Noticias.

As investigations unfold, some authorities, however, have been critical of their colleagues and their colleagues’ role in not preventing the kidnapping and killing from occurring. Attorney General Nájera, for example, claimed that the attack could have been avoided had proper security protocols been followed, writes Univisión. Information was not properly and efficiently shared amongst police forces, elaborated Nájera, particularly given that the crime spanned two states (Jalisco and Zacatecas). He specifically pointed to the poor job by the Tlaquepaque, Jalisco municipal police force “for acting negligently” and for not immediately locking down roadways to block the kidnapped car from escaping out of Guadalajara. “We are sure that the units that arrived [at the scene] did not do an efficient investigation; they did not ask the witnesses who were there,” he added.

Gabriel Gómez MIchel had served as federal deputy for Jalisco since 2012, and prior to that was the mayor of the El Grullo municipality from 2010 to 2012, and an El Grullo councilman or reserve councilman from 2001 to 2006. Before his political career, Gómez was a well-known and award-winning pediatric doctor, having received his degree from University of Guadalajara (UdeG) and having served as coordinator for several medical boards and committees. He parlayed his medical career into politics, presenting and advocating for initiatives at the federal level related to healthcare, medicine, and human rights. Originally from the municipality of El Grullo, Jalisco, Gómez’s funeral service was held in his hometown on September 25.

Gómez’s murder is the first of a federal figure in Jalisco since the death of José Jesús Gallegos Álvarez, the state secretary of tourism, in March 2013 who was targeted one week after he began his position. More recently, the mayor of the Ayutla municipality, Manuel Gómez Torres, was killed just last month in August 2014.


Ferrer, Mauricio et. al. “Plagian, ejecutan y calcinan al diputado federal priísta Gabriel Gómez Michel.” La Jornada. September 23, 2014.

“Cinco facetas de Gabriel Gómez Michel.” Mlenio. September 24, 2014.

Rama, Anahi. “Mexico lawmaker likely killed by drug cartel: prosecutor.” Reuters. September 24, 2014.

“Un fiscal revela el video del secuestro del diputado mexicano que fue asesinado.” Univisión. September 25, 2014.

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