Authorities probe lawyer murder, drug cartel link

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by TODD UNGER and TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on May 24, 2013 at 2:25 PM

SOUTHLAKE, Texas -- The man gunned down Wednesday night in Southlake Town Square in front of dozens of onlookers worked as an attorney and has ties to Mexican drug cartels, sources tell WFAA.

Juan Jesus Guerrero-Chapa, 43, was shopping with his wife just before 7 p.m. Wednesday when a man with a partially-covered face shot nine times at the passenger side of the couple's Range Rover, killing Mr. Guerrero-Chapa as he and his wife got in the vehicle.

"Obviously, the nature of this homicide -- the way it was carried out, indicates an organization trained to do this type of activity," said Southlake Police Chief Steve Mylett.

Southlake police wouldn't publicly link Guerrero-Chapa to the cartels, but did acknowledge federal authorities are helping the investigation and did say the killing wasn't random.

Police released two photos from surveillance cameras which show what's believed to be the suspects' car: a white SUV with at least two people inside.

Thursday, children were back to playing near the fountain and families were out for a stroll at Southlake Town Square. A sense of peace returned, but the disbelief had not worn off.

"It's been on the news that cartels were coming, but I never thought Southlake of all places," said shopper Teresa Orosco.

An online search of records indicates Guerrero-Chapa was involved with businesses near the Mexican-Texas border. Police say he came to Southlake two years ago and was in the country legally, but his current immigration status is unclear.

He operated a cattle operation out of Mexico, too, according to an online biography, and Southlake police said he had worked as an attorney in Mexico, and perhaps even consulted with a law firm in McAllen.

"He had his only private business in Mexico, and at some pointed practiced law in Mexico and may have been associated with a law firm in south Texas," the police chief said.

He is survived by a wife and three children. They are under police protection.

"Even though they say it's targeted, it's still scary, that can affect any of us -- anybody could've been hit," Orosco said.

Police weren't sure why the family was living in Southlake, or what exactly Guerrero-Chapa had been doing locally for work, if anything.

Mexican media reports link his name to a number of cases involving drug cartel defense teams.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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