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Acting chief of Mexicos federal police shot dead in capital
Mexico Police Kille 5564091
Federal police officers patrol the entrance to the hospital where Mexico's acting Federal Police Chief Edgar Millan Gomez died after being shot outside his home by unknown assailants in Mexico City, Thursday, May 8, 2008. The Public Safety Department said Edgar Millan Gomez was shot 10 times and died hours later in a hospital. Two of his bodyguards were wounded. - photo by Associated Press
    MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s acting federal police chief was shot dead Thursday outside his home — a brazen attack that comes as drug traffickers increasingly lash back at a nationwide crackdown on organized crime.
    Edgar Millan Gomez was shot 10 times after he opened the door to his Mexico City apartment complex, where at least one gunman was waiting for him before dawn, the Public Safety Department said. Two bodyguards were also wounded. Millan died hours later in a hospital.
    President Felipe Calderon’s government said Millan played a vital role in the country’s battle against organized crime and denounced ‘‘this cowardly killing of an exemplary official.’’
    Millan, 41, was named acting chief of the federal police March 1 after his superior was promoted to a deputy Cabinet position, said a police official who was not authorized to give his name.
    The official said police were investigating and had not yet determined a motive for the pre-dawn attack. One suspect with a record of car theft was arrested.
    Mexico has suffered a wave of organized crime and drug-related violence in which more than 2,500 people died last year alone.
    Since taking office in 2006, Calderon has sent more than 24,000 soldiers to drug hotspots, and Millan was in charge of coordinating operations between the federal police and those troops.
    Cartels have responded fiercely to the nationwide offensive, killing soldiers and federal police in unprecedented attacks. But until recently, most of those killings took place in northern Mexico where drug gangs rule large areas of territory. Now criminals appear to be getting more brash with daring slayings in the capital.
    George Grayson, a Mexico expert at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, said Millan’s death ‘‘shows the increasing audacity of the cartels.’’
    ‘‘This happened in Mexico City where people like Millan tend to be quite cautious, often sleeping in different houses on different nights, and who have their own security patrols,’’ he said. ‘‘When you can get someone like this, no one is safe.’’
    Millan was the second top federal police official killed in less than a week in Mexico City. A Mexican federal police intelligence analyst was killed on May 2 in an apparent armed robbery attempt outside his home.
    In January, police in Mexico City arrested three men with assault rifles and grenade launchers who were allegedly planning to assassinate Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, a top prosecutor who oversees the extradition of drug traffickers.
    Millan was involved in solving a number of high-profiling kidnappings.
    In 2000, he helped capture one of Mexico’s most feared kidnappers, Andres Caletri, and disband two notorious abduction rings. In 2001, he was named head of anti-kidnapping operations for the Federal Agency of Investigation, Mexico’s version of the FBI.
    Under his direction, agents captured five suspects involved in the abduction of Ruben Omar Romano, the coach of Mexico’s Cruz Azul soccer team in 2005.
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    Associated Press writer Julie Watson in Mexico City contributed to this report.