CCTV footage shows the moment a former model and contestant in the Miss Guatemala pageant was assassinated in broad daylight.
Rosa Otilia Ramirez, 32, was shot in the head at 7 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 19, in Guatemala City, just as she was returning home from dropping her daughter off at school, Noti Mérica reported.
The video shows a masked man quickly approaching Ramirez from behind and shooting her once in the back of her head. He then runs away.
Police said it could have been a “crime of passion.”
Violent crime is a serious problem in Guatemala, according to the U.S. State Department.
“Guatemala suffers from a severe impunity problem, which exacerbates a wide range of crimes,” the department’s website says. “The issue of impunity, coupled with the easy availability of firearms, allows for an environment primed for violent crime. Public institutions are unable to target large-scale criminal enterprises or curb petty crime. Crime statistics are often called into question.”
In 2016, the Guatemalan National Police (PNC) reported over 4,500 homicides and 3,500 missing persons. In a country of nearly 17 million, that makes for a homicide rate of about five times that of the U.S.
“Guatemala is consistently ranked by commercial security sources as one of the 25 most dangerous countries in the world,” the State Department states. “Violent crime is attributed to endemic poverty, an abundance of weapons, a legacy of societal violence, and the presence of organized criminal gangs.”
There’s a strong presence of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Mara Barrio 18 (18th Street) gangs in the country.
MS-13 is known for its extreme violence and has been targeted for elimination by the Trump administration. One of its mottos is “Mata, roba, viola, controla” or “Kill, steal, rape, control.”
According to the Justice Department, MS-13 has 40,000 members globally, with around 10,000 in the U.S., carrying out crimes ranging from extortion to gun trafficking, reported Fox News.
Janita Kan contributed to this report.