Irishman killed 'defending girlfriend' from carjackers in Mexico
An Irishman was shot dead in Mexico while "defending his girlfriend" according to a local prosecutor.
The victim, named locally as Noel Maguire (29), was killed during an apparent carjacking near the town of Lazaro Cardenas in the Pacific coast state of Michoacán.
The killing occurred on Tuesday but details of the tragedy have only recently emerged.
Local authorities initially believed the victim to be a Swiss national, but further enquiries established the victim was Mr Maguire and the Irish embassy in Mexico was contacted.
Mr Maguire, originally from Co Louth, was shot dead by two armed men as they attempted to steal the vehicle he was travelling in with his girlfriend.
This female, who is originally from the US state of Arizona, had known Mr Maguire for the past three months according to the local prosecutor.
She told authorities she met Mr Maguire on social media and the pair had been dating for a number of months.
It has been reported locally that the couple asked for directions at a petrol station before they were threatened and Mr Maguire attacked.
A spokeswoman for Michoacán attorney general José Martín Godoy Castro has confirmed that the office is investigating the homicide of an Irish national.
"We can confirm that the office is investigating the homicide of an Irishman, Noel N on Tuesday," she said.
Enquiries made by the AG's office have determined that the gunmen demanded Mr Maguire and his female friend hand over the pick-up truck and the woman's handbag.
When the pair refused to hand over the keys to the criminals, at least one man opened fire and fatally wounded Mr Maguire.
The thieves then escaped in the truck while emergency services were alerted. Tragically, Mr Maguire was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr Castro has vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice and said Mr Maguire's partner was being provided psychological and legal assistance.
Mr Maguire's remains were transferred from the scene to a medical facility nearby.
The victim's family are travelling to Mexico before his body will be repatriated.
It is understood that Mr Maguire, who was travelling with an Irish passport, was also in possession of a UK driver's licence.
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that it has been made aware of the case and that it is providing consular assistance. Local police are also investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident and are liaising with the Irish embassy in Mexico.
Louth TD Fergus O'Dowd described the killing of Mr Maguire as "an absolute tragedy" and expressed his sympathies to the victim's family.
"For something like this to happen is an absolute tragedy, and is such a tragic loss of life for a young man.
"My sympathies go out to his family and friends at such an extremely sad time for everyone who knew him," the Fine Gael TD said.
Recently, the state of Michoacán has suffered some of the worst drug-related violence which has plagued Mexico.
Extortion and assassinations became so widespread, armed civilian militias were deputised by the government to combat the dominant Knights Templar cartel.
In May of this year, two members of the local police force died in an ambush in the same town where the Irishman was shot.