Santiago Barroso

Journalist Santiago Barroso was murdered at his San Luis Rio Colorado home on Friday.

Sonoran authorities have arrested a man in the March 15 killing of a journalist in San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora.

The killer’s motive, they say, was anger over a relationship that radio host and columnist Santiago Barroso was having, not the journalist’s work.

“We know now that the strongest line of investigation was related to the personal arena and his romantic relationships,” said Attorney General Claudia Indira Contreras in a news conference. “It was not the other line of investigation that we pursued at the beginning — an attack on free expression.”

State investigators responded in force to the killing in part because of the high degree of interest and concern about cases of murdered journalists, she said.

The prosecutor gave only the first name of the 40-year-old man arrested in the case — Omar — and said he is from Guasave, Sinaloa. The man threatened a woman with a gun and ordered her to drive him to Barroso’s house, where he knocked on the door, and, when Barroso answered, shot him three times with a .38 special revolver, Contreras said.

Barroso was a morning radio host in San Luis Rio Colorado, a border city about 25 miles south of Yuma. He also wrote a column for the weekly Semanario Contrasena, and had touched on topics related to smuggling and trafficking in the city.

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Journalists in Sonora, who had called for the government to solve the case, in large measure accepted the results. However, Reyna Haydee Ramirez, of the Red de Periodistas Sonora (Sonoran Journalists Network), said the group had neither accepted nor rejected the results and is looking forward to hearing more of the evidence at future hearings.

Journalists have been killed with alarming regularity over the last 15 years, the Committee to Protect Journalists reports, but not all the killings are clearly caused by their work. In 2018, for example, 10 Mexican journalists were killed, but just four of those were confirmed as related to their work.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised to end the killings of journalists, but so far there have been six since he took office Dec. 1, Vice News reported. One reporter was shot, and survived, even though he was enrolled in a federal program to keep journalists safe.

Contact: tsteller@tucson.com or 807-7789.

On Twitter: @senyorreporter

Columnist

Tim Steller is the Star’s metro columnist. A 20-plus year veteran of reporting and editing, he digs into issues and stories that matter in the Tucson area, reports the results and tells you his opinion on it all.