The cold-blooded murder on Friday – captured by a CCTV camera – has cast a harsh light on the stunning levels of violence in Mexico and the risk taken by those who run for elected office in the country.
Purón was the 112th political candidate murdered in Mexico since September 2017, according to Etellekt, a risk analysis consultancy.
And the country is bracing for more bloodshed before 1 July elections, when voters will pick a new president, renew congress and fill hundreds of state and local positions.
The motives for the murder remain uncertain, although Purón had received death threats during his stint as mayor of Piedras Negras, where he had 10 bodyguards and was said to have incurred the displeasure of the city’s dominant crime group, the notoriously ruthless Zetas.
During the debate just before his death, Purón had pledged again to defy organised crime, according to the newspaper Vanguardia. “You take on crime head-on – you don’t fear it, you call it for what it is,” he said. “Unfortunately, not all those in power do their job – some are even in cahoots with criminals.”
Mexico registered a record number of homicides in 2017 – the 11th year of a militarised crackdown on organised crime.