Mayor-elect of town near Acapulco taken off bus, assassinated

A man is assisted in casting his vote in the Mexican general elections at a polling station in Acapulco, Mexico, on June 2. Salvador Villalba Flores, who was elected mayor of Copa in those elections, was assassinated Monday. File Photo by David Guzman/EPA-EFE

June 17 (UPI) -- Salvador Villalba Flores, the mayor-elect of a small town near the Mexican resort city of Acapulco, was assassinated early Monday, local prosecutors said.

Flores, who was elected mayor in the June 2 general election, was to take office in October in Copala, a town of about 4,000 residents about 80 miles southeast of Acapulco.

He was shot dead while traveling on a highway, prosecutors in Guerrero state said in a statement.

The State Attorney General's Office "reaffirms its commitment to the Guerrero women to ensure access to justice and fight impunity."

Flores was traveling around 3 a.m. on a bus when he was attacked in gunfire near the town of San Pedro las Playas, according to El Universal.

El Sur de Guerrero newspaper reported that Villalba was a retired Navy captain who was usually protected by National Guard escorts, but was traveling alone to Mexico City when he was killed.

"The mayor-elect was taken off the bus he was traveling on when it stopped near San Pedro las Playas" and shot, the outlet reported.

Villalba had decided to run for mayor after a candidate, a friend, was murdered in June 2023.

Since Mexico's campaign season began last September, more than two dozen political candidates have been killed, according to Data Civica, a non-governmental organization.

At least 12 people died from gunshots wounds around Acapulco last month.

On the outskirts of Acapulco, four people were killed and one was injured in two armed attacks that occurred almost simultaneously in the Ricardo Flores Magon district.