Executive Protection Academy

Executive Protection Academy

Shooting in Zapopan: businessman saved by the Army.

A little over a month after the murder of Mexican businessman Carlos Bildmart in Cuautla, Morelos, in front of an elementary school, where two of his bodyguards were also killed, another shooting occurred in Zapopan, Jalisco, near the exclusive shopping mall The Landmark Guadalajara. The shocking images of the horror experienced by citizens flooded social networks.

The events occurred on Sunday, October 2 at 5:20 p.m. when a group of hired killers apparently attempted to kidnap a businessman whose identity, as of this writing, has not been revealed. One bodyguard lost his life and six other people were injured among the assailants and citizens, who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The first journalistic versions indicated that a strong group of between ten and twelve hired killers with high-powered weapons arrived in several vans and attempted to kidnap a businessman; however, his bodyguards repelled the aggression and, when the attackers were fleeing, they confronted a Mexican Army patrol, which provoked another scuffle. This version, although not very credible for specialists, was circulated (and is still being circulated in several media outlets) as true, however, it was denied on Monday morning, October 3, by the Governor of the State of Jalisco, Enrique Alfaro: Twitter (click)

On his official Twitter account, the governor of the state published a video in which he reports that a group of members of organized crime was indeed going to kidnap a businessman who was eating at the mall. The first action of the criminals was to attack with bullets the escort vehicle in which the businessman's protectors were allegedly located and in which one of them unfortunately lost his life. At that moment a Mexican Army patrol that happened to be passing through the area reacted and surprisingly confronted the criminals, who after an extensive shootout managed to flee, for the most part. This allowed the businessman, the target of the attack, to escape unharmed.

The aggressors had the weapons, the necessary numerical advantage, the surprise factor and the structured plan to first eliminate the protectors and then kidnap or kill the businessman; however, they were surprised by the Army and had no choice but to escape in the midst of a heavy gun battle.

Up to this moment there is not enough information for a deeper analysis, since we do not officially know the identity of the businessman, whether or not he had links or problems with organized crime; nor do we know how the assassins knew where the businessman was, if it was his routine or not, if he was followed by the criminals or if someone leaked information, etc. Nevertheless, this unfortunate situation already teaches us several lessons that hopefully we can apply to prevent more deaths:

Criminals no longer have any scruples or code. They attack in front of schools and shopping malls endangering children and innocent people, so there are no more "untouchable" places.

Working only the close circle is deadly. We saw it in the case of the attack in Cuautla and now again. Mexican Army personnel accidentally acted as a second stealthy security circle that surprised the aggressors, who had no choice but to flee, otherwise the protectors would not have had a chance, as pointed out by Ricardo Sanchez Beruben, General Strategic Security Coordinator of the State of Jalisco. We need to expand our operational reach in different circles, which does not imply adding more personnel or more resources, but rather training existing personnel and giving them the specific procedures and techniques to perform new tasks that will generate a more efficient and discreet service.

The unfortunate events demonstrate something that has been repeated many times: labeling escort vehicles only increases the risk for their occupants and compromises the proper execution of protection tasks. Likewise, the use of these vehicles should be much more flexible and versatile in order to be more effective.

We will certainly have more information soon, but if we learn from what we have seen so far, we will be able to significantly improve the operating conditions and safety of both protectees and protectors.