Who killed Brad Will? - Page 6

And why has the murder of an American journalist in Mexico gone unpunished?
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photo by Raul Estrella for El Universal

The second shot was not recorded on the soundtrack and may have been fired simultaneously with the first.

Others were shot in the pandemonium. Oswaldo Ramírez, filming for the daily Milenio, was grazed. Lucio David Cruz, described as a bystander, was hit in the neck and died four months later.

As Will slid down the wall into a sitting position, Vilchis and activist Leonardo Ortiz ran to him. Will's Section 22 credential had flown off, and no one there knew his name. With bullets whizzing by, the compas picked Will up and dragged him out of the line of fire and around the corner to Árboles Street, about 35 paces away. Along the way, his pants fell off.

"Ambulance! We need an ambulance! They've shot a journalist!" Vilchis, a tall young man with a face like an Italian comic actor's, shouted desperately. Gualberto Francisco, another activist, had parked his vochito (Volkswagen Bug) on Árboles and pulled up alongside Will, who was laid out on the pavement in his black bikini underwear.

Ortiz and Vilchis loaded the dying Will into the back seat. They thought he was still breathing, and Vilchis applied mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. "You're going to make it ... you're all right," they kept telling him. But Will's eyes had already turned up — he was perdido (lost), as they say in Mexico.

The vochito ran out of gas, and while the frantic young men ferrying Will were stuck in the middle of the Cinco Señores crossroad, it began to rain hard. They tried to stop a taxi to take them to the Red Cross, but the driver supported the government and wanted to argue. Finally, they flagged down a pickup truck and laid Will out in the bed. He was dead when he arrived at the hospital, according to the report by the coroner, Dr. Luis Mendoza.

THE OUTRAGE BEGINS

Oct. 27 was the bloodiest day of the Oaxaca uprising. Four people were killed besides Will: Emilio Alonso Fabián, Esteban Ruiz, Esteban López Zurita, and Audacia Olivera Díaz.

Unlike their murders, Will's death triggered international outrage. Because he was so connected — and because much of the episode was recorded on film —the shot of the mortally wounded Indymedia reporter lying in the middle of a Oaxaca street went worldwide on the Web in a matter of minutes.

There were instant vigils on both coasts of the United States. On Oct. 30, 11 of Will's friends were busted trying to lock down at the Mexican consulate off Manhattan's Park Avenue, where graffiti still read "Avenge Brad!" in December. Anarchists splattered the San Francisco consulate with red paint. Subcomandante Marcos sent his condolences and called for international protests. Goodman did an hour-long memorial.

On March 16, 2007, at its midyear meeting in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, the Inter-American Press Association, an organization devoted to freedom of speech and the press in the Americas, passed a resolution calling for action on the Will case.

"The investigation into the killing has been plagued by irregularities and inconsistencies, and no arrests have been made," the group said in a statement. IAPA called for the federal attorney general to take over the investigation, "in view of the lack of confidence in state authorities and the lack of progress in the case, so that it may apprehend the culprits, who, according to one theory of the investigation, may be indirectly linked to state authorities."

The official reaction to Will's death was more cautious. "It is unfortunate when peaceful demonstrations get out of hand and result in violence," a US spokesperson told the media, seeming to blame the APPO for Will's killing.