World

Indian-American Held For Shooting US Diplomat in Mexico

A man shoots at a US consular official in his car in Guadalajara, Mexico, in this still image taken from January 6, 2017 security video footage released by the US embassy in Mexico. Credit: Unidentified source distributed by US Embassy in Mexico/Handout via Reuters TV

A man shoots at a US consular official in his car in Guadalajara, Mexico, in this still image taken from January 6, 2017 security video footage released by the US embassy in Mexico. Credit: Unidentified source distributed by US Embassy in Mexico/Handout via Reuters TV

Washington/Mexico City: A 31-year-old man from India has been arrested in Mexico’s Guadalajara city for allegedly shooting a diplomat from the US over a possible visa row.

The US diplomat was shot by a man wearing a black wig and a blue nurse uniform outside a shopping centre’s garage on Friday in Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city.

The suspect was arrested in a joint operation by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Jalisco state officials in Guadalajara’s affluent Providencia neighbourhood early Sunday morning, reports said.

A spokesperson at the Jalisco state prosecutor’s office identified the suspect as a naturalised American from India named Zafar Zia, suggesting the shooting may have been related to a dispute over a visa, The Daily Beast reported.

Zia, at the time of his arrest, had in his possession a .38-caliber pistol and a wig, it said.

Authorities also seized a Honda Accord with California license plates and a wig that is believed to have been used at the time of the attempted murder.

Zia had moved to Guadalajara in November from Phoenix, US and had been residing in the city since. The apparent motive for the attempted murder appears to have been a disagreement over an undisclosed visa process, media reports said.

The FBI had offered US $20,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the shooter.

Security footage recorded just prior to the shooting showed the victim validating his parking lot ticket while carrying a gym bag. Moments later, he was followed by a man wearing a nurse’s uniform.

Hours after Zia’s arrest, the attorney general’s office and the foreign ministry in a joint statement said he would face justice in the US for the “sordid and cowardly” shooting.

US Secretary of State John Kerry thanked the Mexican government for the swift and decisive arrest of the suspect.

“On behalf of President Obama and the people of the US, I want to thank the Government of Mexico for their swift and decisive arrest of a suspect in the heinous attack against our Foreign Service Officer colleague,” Kerry said in a statement.

The consular official is now recovering in a hospital.