Indian American arrested in Mexico for shooting US consular official

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The diplomat was shot in chest while he was leaving the gym.

The Mexican police have arrested an Indian American man in connection with the nonfatal shooting of an American consular official in the western city of Guadalajara, Jalisco.

According to Eduardo Almaguer, the attorney general of the State of Jalisco, “The detention of the aggressor against the consular agent has been achieved. The suspect has been handed over to Mexico’s federal attorney general’s office.”

The office of the attorney general has announced that the suspect Zafar Zia, a 31-year-old Indian American, will be expelled and repatriated to the US where he will face the charges for attempting to harm foreign service officials.

Thanking the Mexican authorities for their undelayed response to the heinous act of the US citizen, Secretary of State John Kerry said: “Thanks for their swift and decisive arrest of the suspect in the heinous attack against our foreign service officer colleague. The safety and security of US citizens and our diplomatic staff overseas are among our biggest priorities.”

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He also added, “My thoughts and prayers remain with this officer and his family during this difficult time. I wish him a speedy recovery.”

The details on the attack on the US Foreign envoy is yet to be revealed by the US, or the Mexican authorities, but they have confirmed that the attacker is a US Citizen of Indian origin.

According to the details provided to the press by the Mexican authorities, the suspect Zia was apprehended after a joint operation conducted by the FBI, DEA and Jalisco state officials in Guadalajara’ Providencia neighborhood on Sunday morning.

The authorities said that the suspect was carrying a .380 caliber pistol hidden under his waistband when arrested. The authorities have also seized a Honda Accord car with California license plate, a wig, and sunglasses that he matches the footage of the shooting and 16 ziplock bags containing 336 grams of a substance believed to be marijuana.

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The CCTV video and the image of the suspect were released by the US Consulate in Guadalajara hours after the attack on one of its official. The FBI announced a reward of $20,000 for information leading to the identification of the shooter.

The name of the consulate official who was injured in the attack has not been revealed due to “privacy considerations’ but the local police Identified the officer as Christopher Ashcraft, a foreign service officer at the state department who had been stationed in Guadalajara since June 2015.

The Washington Post quoted a friend of the injured diplomat as saying that Ashcraft is suffered a bullet wound to his chest while he was leaving the gym. His condition is reported to be stable and is recovering well in Guadalajara. He will return home after complete recovery.

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Even though his friends say that the shooting was targeted, the motive behind the attack is still unknown. Like many other Mexican cities, Guadalajara is also infamous for drug cartels and gang wars. Attacks on Mexican police officials are common but this is the first time a US official is coming under direct attack.

Going by the details provided in his Linkedin profile Ashcraft has been working in Mexico as a foreign service officer since June 2015.