Priest found cuffed, shot to death in rough Mexican border city

A Roman Catholic priest was found shot to death in his car in the rough border city of Tijuana on Monday with his hands cuffed and six gunshot wounds to his body, in what police said appeared to be an organized-crime killing.

Tijuana Bishop Rafael Romo said "the Church has been wounded," and called on city residents to unite against the drug and crime-fueled violence along Mexico's border.

"We feel wounded by this violence ... because we hear about it every day, and now it has hit us," said Bishop Romo. "It is no longer time to wait and see which of us gets hit next, but rather to realize that we must unite in this battle against crime."

Parish priest Luis Velasquez, 51, was found in his car, which had been left near a shopping mall parking lot. Ordained more than 20 years ago, Velasquez was an expert in church law.

He was assigned to a parish church in the Colinas de Agua Caliente neighborhood, which is where many drug gangs in Tijuana operate.

Bishop Romo said "I have no information that he had received any death threats."

The method in which the killing was carried out suggests "at first sight" a murder by organized crime gangs, said Francisco Castro Trenti, homicide director for the Baja California state attorney general's office, AP reported. V.A.

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