A city police officer was murdered Tuesday about midnight in a drive-by shooting in the border city across from Yuma County.
Daniel Armenta Santos, who headed the municipal police department’s auto theft prevention unit, was struck multiple times by an assault rife fired from a vehicle traveling next to the police pickup truck the officer was driving, according to San Luis Rio Colorado media reports.
Armenta was rushed by police patrol car to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to the news website vizionsanluisrc.com.
Armenta had just gotten off duty when the truck he was driving came under fire at Avenida Puebla and Calle 25 in the border city’s central district, according to media reports.
The Dodge Ram pickup truck was struck several times on the driver’s side, and several spent cases thought to be from an AK-47 were found at the scene, according to reports.
Armenta was able to report the shooting on his police radio, describing his attackers as driving a red Chevrolet Malibu.
A vehicle believed used in the shooting was later found abandoned nearby at Avenida Colima and Calle 20, according to Tribuna de San Luis newspaper.
Neighbors said they did not see who left the vehicle at that location, and no suspects had been arrested in the shooting as of Wednesday.
Tribuna said Armenta had been with the department 21 years, the last seven as head of the anti-vehicle theft unit, which the newspaper said had recent success in containing the city’s auto theft rate as well as increasing the number of recoveries of stolen vehicles.
The slaying comes as the city experiences a spike in murders in 2019, many attributed to score settling among rival drug trafficking groups.
Armenta was the second municipal police officer killed in less than a year.
Jorge David Ramirez was gunned down Dec. 24 by multiple individuals carrying assault rifles. He had served in high-ranking positions in the municipal police department in the administrations of two previous mayors of San Luis Rio Colorado, but had been reassigned with the department after current Mayor Santos Gonzalez took office.