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New police chief narrowly avoids assassination

October 15, 2012

Just two weeks into his new job, Puerto Vallarta’s municipal police chief survived an assassination attempt on Monday morning.

Having only taken up his post at the beginning of the month, Roberto Rodriguez Preciado was attacked just before 8 a.m. while driving through Vallarta’s Colonia Emiliano Zapata.

Two men armed with AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles opened fire on his vehicle at the intersection of Basilio Badillo and Insurgentes. The assailants then threw a fragmentation grenade, causing Rodriguez’s driver to crash into a taxi parked outside a pharmacy two blocks down, on the corner with Lazaro Cardenas.

Rodriguez and his bodyguards escaped the burning vehicle but the would-be assassins threw another grenade which exploded on the sidewalk. The shrapnel wounded at least three innocent bystanders, including two children.

The two men then fled in a white Ford Lobo pickup truck, which was found abandoned several minutes later, with the guns and grenades still inside. Rodriguez and his bodyguards survived the attack without injury.

Edit: This story has been getting a huge amount of hits today. I was contacted earlier by the makers of the following video, which seeks to put the incident in context:

I have some reservations about the video — the incident is downplayed a little too much, what happened is not fully explained and one of the Canadian’s comments is borderline racist. However, some of the speakers make more valid points regarding how safe Vallarta is and how Mexico is often unfairly portrayed in the foreign press. What do you think? Is Vallarta safe? Does it get a bad rap in the media?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 16, 2012 19:09

    my wife did some research on the web and found that 6 people had been killed in august and another 11 in september (all in 2012) and all drug related, one was a lawyer from guadalahara that was shot down in broad daylight at the new marina in front of a popular restaurant – if this news becomes known the tourist trade in PV will dry up, ships will stop coming here and tourists will too – i know we won’t be coming back although we love the place – and to the claim that no one was hurt, one of the police chiefs guards was shot in the leg and a young boy, who was on his way to school was hit with shrapnel from one of the grenades and was in serious condition

    • Mary permalink
      October 16, 2012 21:24

      Unfortunately Vallarta is a part of today’s modern world, just like any growing city.
      Violence is rampant everywhere. Vaque references to ‘research’ and ‘killings’ does not help anyone. Research any large city’s crime/murder rate all over the world, (but moreso in the gun happy Americas) and you will find similar numbers, if not FAR FAR worse. Downplaying the incident as this clown does is ridiculous, but so is staying away from a place you love.
      There isa middle ground, such as being safe, and aware of your surroundings no matter where you are.

  2. October 16, 2012 21:29

    Some very sensible and balanced points Mary. Many U.S. cities do indeed have far worse murder rates than the likes of Puerto Vallarta or Guadalajara, but of course visitors and locals here must be careful to stay safe. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Robin W. permalink
    October 16, 2012 22:22

    Thank you for posting the facts about what happened yesterday, it’s important to know what the current events are, however it isn’t cause for a freak out. I live on the Central Coast of California, and am absolutely aware of how much violence there is. I think that as long as you are street smart and don’t make yourself a target you should be fine. Bad things happen all over the world at any given moment (unfortunately). I do think it is a different element of violence here than what I see/hear about in Cali, however the bototm line is: violence is violence. I think the video is pretty idiotic though, and I don’t think the host should be laughing and joking about the unfortunate event. He needs to get a clue, as well as most of the tourists on the video. That is what happens when you give people a microphone…
    Basically what Mary said haha.

  4. October 17, 2012 14:06

    I did not watch the full video as I felt the start was to much of a whitewash. My wife and I have lived in Vallarta for over 8 years full time. I feel as safe here as most anywhere north of the border. I actually feel safer a majority of the time. This incident is serious but no intention to leave here due to it. Thank You for posting story and video. GWH

  5. Pinto hays permalink
    October 19, 2012 13:13

    I take this very seriously, and as usual to protect the Cash cow of tourist dollars, all is hush, hush. In the past year I have run across very few Americians but a majority of Candians whom are not fazed in the least about this incident.I will be back soon and up date you. Does anyone have any info about the rumored ZETAS banners that have shown up promissing more actions.

  6. milano permalink
    October 22, 2012 22:44

    The video was removed already so I did not get to see it! I live in Chicago so I know crime, but most likely I will not be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time as I stay out of certain areas. I sing PVs praises ad nauseum and speak of how safe it is. HOWEVER, this gives me pause as it took place right where I stay and if I cannot move about freely as I do in PV, there are so many other places where I will not have to think twice about my safety. Having said that, I am not in bars, out late, etc. but this took place at 8 am! I have been told there were things going on there under the surface all along. I adore PV and plan to come in January but I am really saddened by this as up until now I felt that we were still in a “safe zone” in PV. I am not sure my big city “street smarts” will help if I am walking down the wrong street at the wrong time. I was told that the shootout at the D.F. airport was an isolated incident (by my D.F. friend:) and D.F. is actually on the “safe list” so to speak on the US State Dept. site, HOWEVER, we do not have shootouts at O’Hare:) – these are usually only on the south side. It is true that Canadians continue to flock while my U.S. friends – some – are aghast that I am going. I will say that I advised a friend against leaving this week for the Copper Canyon with a group. Well, more will be revealed….(if they don’t cover it up…)

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