~ This article was originally published by Ríodoce on May 22, 2016 ~
Bernadino Aispuro Angulo was a municipal police officer in Culiacán. The mistake that cost him his life was disarming and arresting two men who were subsequently released on the orders of a superior officer. Moments later, Bernadino Aispuro was shot to death in the la Campiña neighborhood. He is the third police officer killed in less than a week.
The authorities lied. The first accounts of the killing of the commander held that he had responded to a call about a domestic disturbance at a house in La Campiña, and that as he called for order he was attacked.
But there is something more suspicious about the crime, which seems to suggest the complicity of high ranking police officers with organized crime, complicity that presumably cost the commander his life.
It was Sunday, May 15. Bernadino Aispuro left his house around six in the morning. Before leaving, he joked with his wife about how sexy he looked in a uniform.
An hour and a half later, he was responding to the first call: two men in a late-model white Jeep Cherokee, who had allegedly fired weapons. Bernadino and his partner pursued the men, and stopped them at the intersection of Enrique Sánchez Alonso and Novena.
Another version suggests that Bernadino and his partner were eating breakfast at a birría stand at the corner of those streets when two men in a white Cherokee appeared, and when Aispuro noticed that they were armed he called for backup and disarmed them.
It was scarcely 7:30 AM and the events had activated the emergency alert, causing officers from various branches of the state and municipal security forces to arrive on scene.
After being disarmed, the two presumed hitmen were handcuffed in the police cruiser belonging of Commander Berna—as his colleagues called him. They were to be transported to the offices of the municipal security and transit police, the police force to which Bernandino belonged, but on the way to the offices they were intercepted by another police vehicle, apparently belonging to the same department, and after a short discussion Bernadino was forced to hand over the prisoners so they could be released.
Another unofficial version indicates that Bernadino Aispuro and his partner did reach the municipal police offices located in Bachigualato, but supposedly on the orders of a high-ranking officer, the detainees were released, without filing an official report.
After the release of the presumed hitmen, the officers were told to return to their homes. One unofficial account from a worker at the headquarters claims that “they were told by a superior to go home, rather than keeping them at the offices in Bachigualato.”
Officer Bernadino Aispuro sensed the danger he was facing, and instead of going home decided to head to the municipal police station located on Eucaliptos street in the La Campiña neighborhood.
Once there, the nine-year veteran of the force supposedly received a call from a superior officer from his unit, telling him that “the boys” wanted to speak to him, apparently referring to the two men whom he had disarmed scarcely two hours earlier.
“No way I’m leaving the gun,” said Bernadino when his superior told him that he should leave the station unarmed and that the men were supposedly waiting outside to speak with him.
He went out with his service revolver and approached a truck. The men in the vehicle did not want to talk, however, they tried to seize him and take him away, according to one unofficial source. Aispuro resisted the attempted levantón, struggled with criminals, and escaped, running down the street.
Commander Berna did not get far. Approximately one block away from where the men in the truck had tried to grab him, he fell, gunned down in the middle of Eucaliptos street, between Aguacate and Toronja, two blocks from the police station.
Apparently two other people were wounded at the scene, since forensic investigators found traces of blood not belonging to Commander Bernadino, yet thus far nothing is known about those who were presumably injured.
One officer who was at the police station was transported to the hospital, the victim of a heart attack caused by the shock of the shootout that killed Bernadino Aispuro.
At print time, no official statement had been released about the motive for the events, nevertheless the day following the murder, the head of the municipal security and transit ministry, Héctor Raúl Benítez Verdugo, was removed from his post and replaced by Cesar Abelardo Rubio Olivas.
Since Monday morning, even before his firing was officially announced, Benítez Verdugo had disappeared from view. He did not attend the funeral mass for the fallen officer that took place at 8 AM on Tuesday morning in the Cristo Rey parish.
In attendance was the new head of the ministry, Rubio Olivas, who asked the officer’s family members—through the media—to trust that the case would be resolved.
Since the morning Aispuro was killed, it has been whispered that, from the very core of the municipal police, he had been handed over to the mafia.
The original version of this story was published by Ríodoce on May 22. A slightly different version is currently available here: http://riodoce.mx/noticias/el-misterioso-asesinato-del-agente along with other stories related to the murder.
Translation by Michael Lettieri, Trans-Border Institute.