MEXICO CITY — Authorities in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca are investigating the shooting death of a 16-year-old boy who lived in the Triangle by police officer there.
Alexander “Chander” Martínez Gómez, 16, lives in Willow Springs but was staying with his relatives in the town of Acatlan de Perez Figueroa.
He was walking with eight other teens when law enforcement approached and shot two of them. Gomez died of a a shotgun blast to the head, authorities said.
Another boy, 15, was wounded.
Family members say Gomez was on his way to a gas station with some friends to get something to drink. On their way home they were suddenly stopped by a car, according to Gomez’s brother.
Family members also tell WRAL News that Gomez and his friends tried to run out of fear, not knowing it was police approaching them.
A spokesman for Acatlan de Perez Figueroa government said in a statement that a police officer was involved in the shooting, but that it hadn’t been “in bad faith.” The officer was in custody.
Reached by phone on Thursday, a local police officer who would only identify himself as the “commander” said that the teens had been on motorcycles and failed to stop at a checkpoint.
The Mexican government has launched an investigation into what led up to the fatal shooting by Oaxaca police.
In a social media video posted by a family member you can hear Alexander’s mother asking, in Spanish, “My son was just getting something to drink because I had ordered a pizza for him and his friends. I was waiting for him at home. How can this be?”
Editor’s Note: This video, in Spanish, contains language that may not be acceptable for all listeners
In comments to Imagen Television, Virginia Gómez demanded justice for her son’s death.
The U.S. embassy in Mexico did not immediately respond to an Associated Press request for comment.
“I want my son and here he is, dead, with a shot to the head,” Gómez said.
Gomez attended Fuquay-Varina High School for about a year, according to family members.
“My brother, his life was to play soccer,” said a family member who wished to remain anonymous. “His dream has always been to go pro. His world was soccer, he always wanted to be someone but now look.”
His family described him as a good kid who loved soccer and had dreams of becoming a professional player.
A change.org petition has 10,000 signatures calling for law enforcement in Mexico to be held accountable.
The killing comes amid greater attention to police killings and racial injustice in the United States after the death of George Floyd in police custody. Protests have spread to Mexico and last week highlighted the death of Giovanni López, a man allegedly beaten to death by police in a town south of Guadalajara, Jalisco in May.
Mexico has a long history of human rights violations by security forces.