Mexican drug link probed in ambush murder of Texas lawman

Reuters News
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Posted: May 31, 2011 5:53 PM
Mexican drug link probed in ambush murder of Texas lawman

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - The death of a Bexar County sheriff's sergeant who died in a hail of gunfire as he sat in his patrol car is being investigated for a possible connection to Mexico's drug cartels, county officials said on Tuesday.

Sergeant Kenneth Vann was "targeted because he represented the government," Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz told Reuters.

Vann, 48, was in uniform, sitting in his marked patrol car at a corner on San Antonio's southeast side early Saturday when a small white car pulled up beside him, and somebody in the car fired an estimated 28 shots from an automatic weapon, possibly an AK-47 rifle, Ortiz said. No suspects are in custody.

"I think that they picked on a police officer because he was a symbol of authority," Ortiz said on Tuesday.

He said there is no evidence Vann's movements had been tracked that morning, indicating the 24-year law enforcement veteran was not likely targeted personally. Ortiz called it an attack "on a random law enforcement officer."

"The general public, I don't think, should have that much to fear," Ortiz said.

He said the FBI, along with the Texas Department of Public Safety and other law enforcement agencies are helping with the investigation.

Deputy Lou Antou said investigators are sorting through surveillance videos from two gas stations at the corner where the shooting took place.

(Reporting by Jim Forsyth; Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Jerry Norton)