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El Monte school board member slain in Mexico

Bobbysalcedo A 33-year-old El Monte school board member and five other men were shot dead execution-style in north central Mexico on Wednesday night, after they were abducted by gunmen, according to family members.

Agustin Roberto “Bobby” Salcedo was having dinner with his wife in a restaurant when armed men burst in and kidnapped Salcedo and five other men. All six were found dead Thursday, El Monte officials said. Salcedo’s wife was not abducted.

Salcedo, who was also the assistant principal of instruction at El Monte High School, had arrived in the Mexican city of Gomez Palacio earlier this week. The city of 240,000 is in the state of Durango and is the hometown of Salcedo’s wife, Betzy.

Salcedo, who was born and raised in the Los Angeles area, and his wife were dining with some of her former classmates when the attack occurred, said Salcedo’s brother, Carlos.

“They ordered everyone to the floor. They threatened to shoot them all if anyone dared to look up. They abducted the men,” Carlos Salcedo said. “Their whereabouts were unknown until the police chief informed my sister-in-law that they found the bodies, my brother included. They were found early this morning about 3 a.m.”

The bodies were discovered alongside a canal, local media reported. All had been shot in the head, and dozens of spent bullet casings were found at the site, suggesting they had been slain on the spot, local media said.

Carlos Salcedo said he did not know the identities of the other men.

Friends and family were in shock Thursday. They said there was no reason for the couple to be targeted. Salcedo’s wife told family members that she did not recognize any of the gunmen’s voices.

“From all accounts right now, it sounds random,” Carlos Salcedo said. “There is no reason for my brother to be targeted.”

Raging drug violence and rampant corruption have been a major problem in Durango, a tense, rough state. The local Catholic archbishop, Hector Gonzalez Martinez, recently described the region to The Times as one where gunmen “own the night” in village after village, even threatening priests.

The couple had been married two years, and Betzy Salcedo was a physician in Mexico. She has been preparing for examinations to practice in the United States.

Carlos Salcedo said his brother’s wife was devastated.

“She’s extremely brokenhearted. It’s a nightmare. I can’t believe it’s happening,” he said. “My brother had just such a bright future. He was finishing up his doctorate at UCLA — just the type of person you want in your community as a leader.”

In November, Salcedo was reelected to a new term on the school board of the El Monte City School District, which governs the city’s elementary schools. A photo on the school district’s website shows his brother, Carlos, swearing him in.

Salcedo was born to a family of Mexican immigrants who arrived in the Los Angeles area in the 1960s. His father was a construction worker and his mother a homemaker. The parents had only an elementary school education, Carlos Salcedo said, but they pushed their five children to succeed educationally, and all went to college.

Salcedo wanted to give back to his community by becoming an educator, his brother said.
Salcedo was student body president when he attended Mountain View High School in El Monte in the early 1990s and graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in history, later earning a master’s in educational administration at Cal State San Bernardino. He had been completing work on a doctorate in educational leadership at UCLA.

Before becoming a school administrator, he taught world history, government and economics. He inspired some of his former students to become teachers themselves, and some now work in El Monte, his brother said.

El Monte Mayor Andre Quintero, a friend of Salcedo’s, described him as devoted to education and leadership, and said he volunteered at book giveaways and food drives.

“Bobby was an absolute bright, shining star in our community,” Quintero said.

Gomez Palacio was a familiar city to Salcedo. He and his wife married there about 2 1/2 years ago, and Salcedo was a past president of the South El Monte/Gomez Palacio sister city organization.

Quintero said he hoped authorities would do whatever possible to catch the suspects.

“They didn’t just take his life. They robbed him from our community.... We have to get justice,” Quintero said.

According to a Times’ interactive map, there were at least 669 drug-related killings in Durango between Jan. 1, 2007, and May 29 of last year, the most recent information available from the University of San Diego Trans Border Institute’s analysis of data from the Agencia Reforma newspaper group. Overall in Mexico, more than 9,900 drug-related killings occurred during that period.

-- Rong-Gong Lin II

Photo: Agustin Roberto “Bobby” Salcedo. Credit: Courtesy of the Salcedo family.

Related: Mexico Under Siege

Comments () | Archives (29)

almost 700 drug related killings in Durango alone last few years, how many of them like this are random and include visitors with no connection to drugs?

Absolutely tragic. This is exactly why my culture will never, EVER succeed. "We" senselessly kill off our best with no sense of unity or pride. I can't imagine the amount of grief and pain the family must be going through.

When is Mexico REALLY going to crack down on their deeply entrenched crime and corruption?

always the same...the very one we need the most, the ones in whom we had the highest hopes, such violence in Mexico as though it were the ages past with no law an order, I suppose it speaks to the very unraveling of Mexico as a society itself more than anything esle?
Just read the headlines from Juarez to Tijuana, thousands murdered, bodies strewn about every where like road kill?
And now this good man from all accounts.
Is it any wondeer then that some cast a wary eye upon the salt of the earth immigrants from the south?

Por que?

Is the war on drugs worth it? Is the war on marijuana, so much LESS dangerous than alcohol, worth it?

When is USA Going to do something serious about this Drug Problem ?
This appears to be far more serious on our immediate border and more lives have been lost than all 8 years in IRAQ.
Why does USA Ignore this ?
Jay Smith

What a terrible loss to this community and to a lovely family. People who use drugs need to consider their role in this kind of tragedy. If you're using cocaine and smoking marijuanna for fun, you had a hand in this, and in destroying the lives of thousands of other people in Mexico. Is it really worth it?

Sorry to read of the man’s death and in such a terrible way at the hands of his parents countrymen. RIP

Article says "Salcedo was born to a family of Mexican immigrants who arrived in the Los Angeles area in the 1960s"

Kind of vague. Are you trying to say Salcedo's parents immigrated to the USA legally or illegally? The LA Times always skirts this issues when it comes to immigrants from south of the boarder and with holding info is another form of deceit.

Sounds to me like there are plenty of reasons for the illegal’s from Mexico to go back and fix their country first instead of running to the USA. After all, I would think a patriotic Mexican would first want their house in order before leaving, and that a good Mexican would not illegally come to this country for such selfish reasons as “economic gain” when there are so many reasons to stay south of the boarder. Reasons that would benefit and perhaps by some slim chance bring civility to the heap of trash called Mexico.

The fact that the Mexicans are fleeing such violence tells you how inept the Mexican mind set and society is to begin with and why we don't want Mexicans here in the USA. The perpetual gene of turning ones head, ignoring problems and pushing them to the way side in favor of hours worshipping to the Virgin of Guadalupe, wishing the problem away, or the hours spent writing manuals on how to sneak into the US doesn't help Mexico.

As side note, the schools in El Monte are crap.

Unbelievable. Maybe a case of mistaken identify knowing the low IQ levels of the criminal element. Anyway, horrible story for the entire family and community who knew him

My condolences on the loss of this man.

The thought of going to his wife's hometown, while nice on face value...is still in a shady part of Mexico. Heck, I won't even go to down to the Puerto Nuevo area anymore. Not worth the risk IMO even though most of the violent crime stays within the drug world, there is some spillover to everyday life.

IMO this was not a random abduction and killing. Some people in that group had something going on that po'd someone off.

This is really, really sad.

This person tried his hardest to give back to the community and now some monsters have taken him. WHY??

May he rest is peace and may god have mercy.

My condolences to the family

What a horrid tragedy. My condolences to his family and to his community for their immense loss.

What a tragedy for a lovely family. Imagine, going on vacation and simply eating in a restaurant and being murdered. I love Mexico and have traveled there many, many times with my family throughout the years on vacation. However, I made up my mind a few years ago that I would not be going there anymore until the Mexican people clean up the corruption and murders by the drug cartels. Despite President Calderon's heroic efforts to clean out the drug cartels, it will only be until the Mexican people themselves realize that they are becoming a failed state that and that they must rise up and rally around the federal government that the situation will get better. Our community has lot a vibrant leader in the community. Mr. Salcedo's death is a real loss to not only his family, but his community. He is the type of hard working, successful person the L.A. Times should write about, not the "Flacos" of the world.

Mr. Salcedo will be missed greatly. He was a great role model and leader for the City of El Monte. It is unfortunate to lose an admirable person like Bobby Salcedo. Thanks for all the great Moments and for the great advice at Mountain View High School.


Pablo Carreon
South El Monte "Class of 99"

I am deeply sadden to hear about the loss of a great teacher and role model.I was a student in S.EL Monte High and he was my economics teacher. He was very positive and always encouraged his students to stay positive and to graduate.I send my condolences to his wife and his family.He will never be forgotten...

i am truly heartbrokend...i heared about his death last nigth an hour or so before the clock struck midnigth...i couldnt think of anything else but why....he was a wonderful person he helped so many as well as our community....he was involved with helping students get a higher education, its not fair he died the way he did...we will really miss him...may he rest in peace and my condolences to the family...

south el monte high school alumni 2006

Drug users, you killed this good man.

Drug users, you murdered this innocent good man.

Most California, as well as many citizens in other states, just don't get it. This tragedy happened in Mexico, yes, but the fact is, it's going to come here as sure as it's hot in the summer time in Southern California. It's going to happen. Drug dealers are all over California, there are hundreds of businesses that are fronts for laundered drug money and there are hundreds of sanctuary citizens protecting drug dealers, because of the many traitors we have to the citizenry in California and other states.

A nation cannot have an open, unsupervised border with a country like Mexico and be safe. It's an oxymoron. The Obama administration, including Janet Napolitano, the Sacramento Democrat Party and Mexican nationalists living in the U.S. are putting every single American in danger by allowing the border to remain essentially wide open. Americans haven't the slightest idea of who crosses that border and sets up shop in their nation.

Condolences to the Salcedo family. Roberto looks like a nice guy.

What a horrible trajedy, that such a bright and intelligent man was taken at the prime of his life. Why? What is happening to the world we live in? I hope and pray for the comfort of this man's wife and family. I will pray that these men are brought to Justice and ask for God's mercy on the nation of Mexico and the drug plague which is sweeping across the nations.

i went to mountain view high school in el monte and i knew his personally
this is really weird knowing he is dead


This stuff is going to come to California and the rest of the U.S., unless our traitorous leaders admit that Mexico is a failed state, and a dangerous and deadly state, and close the borders. A long time Mexican-American Los Angeles POlice Detective, has documented and written about how many drug lords have already inflitrated and are operating in California. But the politicians of Los Angeles and other areas of California don't want this known. They would rather have happen to the citizenry, the same tragic thing that happened to the Salcedo family. No one has the slightest idea of who is coming across that border and what they intend to do here in California and the U.S. How much tragedy will it take before that border is closed, and people get out of denial?

it a sad thing to here i am really sorry about what has happened i didnt know bobby but my sister went to school with him it is a good lost rip bobby

I am in shock by such a tragedy, I knew Bobby since Mt.View High School, my alma mater. I graduated with his brother, Tony and I am so saddened by this. All of my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and close friends. He was a bright guy and a role model to our families and community in El Monte. May he rest in peace.

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