Shopper hailed as a hero after revenge attack on armed robber

| Jan. 24, 2011 |

Published by The Times //pdf1//

Video footage has captured a man exacting revenge on an armed robber during a raid on a shopping centre in Ciudad Juárez.

A policeman was killed in the shootout at the Galerias Tec shopping centre and one of the robbers left severely wounded at the entrance. A local man seized the moment, violently punching and kicking the gunman as he lay dying — an expression of the anger felt by many residents of this besieged city.

The incident occurred on the eve of a visit to Mexico today by Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State. She will meet Patricia Espinosa, the country's Foreign Secretary, to discuss joint operations against drug crime.

Mrs Clinton will be keen to brush aside revelations from WikiLeaks that showed Washington's frustration with the inability of President Calderón to combat organised crime.

She angered Mexico in September when she told the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington that Mexico was looking "more and more like Colombia looked 20 years ago".

President Obama rejected the comparison. He said: "Mexico is a vast and progressive democracy, you cannot compare what is happening in Mexico with what happened in Colombia 20 years ago."

Mexico claimed that its problems were less political. It also hit back with mention of the "gigantic demand for drugs in the United States".

Tensions run both ways. A sign on the Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, reads: "Entry of firearms into Mexico prohibited." About 90 per cent of arms used in Mexico's drug wars are from north of the border.

There are about eight murders a day in Juárez. Drug crime is usually blamed but now criminals are disguising their offences as narcotics-related to take advantage of the impunity that the crimes receive.

The bodies in the shopping centre had been removed the next day and the walls painted — preventing any investigation into the local man's assault on the dying robber.