Brad Will, Independent Journalist shot by paramilitaries in Oaxaca, Mexico while covering the historic Teacher’s strike

By Matt Pascarella

Last Friday afternoon in Oaxaca, Mexico a fellow journalist and acquaintance of mine, Brad Will, was shot while covering the historic teacher’s strike there. Brad suffered gunshot wounds to the chest and stomach, and died on the way to the hospital – his video camera lying next to him. He was 36 years old.

Three others, including schoolteacher Emilio Alfonso Fabián, died in the attack and many others, including a photographer from Milenio, were wounded.

The shooters were eventually identified by El Universal as Avel Santiago Zarate (public safety chief), Manuel Aguilar (city personnel director) and Juan Carlos Soriano Velasco (a police officer).

As shown quite explicitly in Brad’s final footage that fateful day, Brad was not afraid to put himself on the line to tell the stories of the people of Oaxaca. Over the last few months what has been happening in Oaxaca has gone under the radar of most mainstream reportage on Mexico. It is for this reason that Brad, as well as many other independent journalists went to Oaxaca.

On Sunday over 4,600 federales in riot gear -- backed by armed vehicles and helicopters surrounded the city of Oaxaca awaiting instructions from President Vincente Fox. It has been reported that eventually they moved into the city and faced average citizens and activists who were resisting state and federal occupation of their city.

Last night the Zapatistas issued a communiqué calling for the people of Mexico to shut down roads, highways and the media beginning on 1 November as well as a general strike on 20 November. It is also on 20 November when Lopez Obrador plans to inaugurate his alternative government.

Read Indymedia NYC's statement on Brad's death

Read more about what is happening in Oaxca:
La Jornada
Indymedia Mexico

Matt Pascarella is a freelance journalist and producer.