Local Wire

Questions Remain in Tito Torbellino's Death as One Alleged Killer Gunned by Mexican Police

Remember Tomas Tovar Rascon, a.k.a. Tito Torbellino, the Phoenix-born banda singer who was brutally assassinated in a restaurant in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, in late May?

News came late July that Mexican police shot and killed one of the men responsible for the murder.

See also: Memorial Service Today for Tito Torbellino, Phoenix-Born Banda Musician Shot in Mexico

According to news reports, on July 18, Carlos Montes Pacheco shot and killed 45-year-old Blanca Olivia Acosta Encinas at a party in Hermosillo, a city in the Mexican state of Sonora that is roughly 155 miles north of Ciudad Obregon. A police officer, who was at the party, then shot and killed Montes Pacheco.

The Associated Press reported that Mexican police haven't determined a motive in the 33-year-old singer's death.

There isn't much else information available, though Spanish-language website El Universal reported that police were able to link Montes Pacheco to Torbellino's death through eyewitness accounts.

However, are the other gunmen (reports at the time indicated anywhere from two to six gunmen were involved in the shooting) still at large? There is still the question of motive, and whether the shooting was cartel-related. Torbellino sang "narcocorridos," songs about the Mexican drug trade. As New Times has previously reported, narcocorridos have been targeted before.

"There have been cases of musicians being assassinated, but they were mostly singers of "narcocorridos," songs about the Mexican drug trade, the AP reported. Tovar Rascon's songs were mostly about love, not drug violence, according to the AP.

Reportedly, Tovar Rascon knew of the dangers he faced.

The Spanish-language El Universal reported that when asked about potential threats to his life, Tovar Rascon replied, "Every job has its risks." And Elijah Wald, who wrote a book, Narcocorrido: A Journey into the Music of Drugs, Guns and Guerrillas, told the AP that even singers who didn't sing about drugs directly were still in danger.

"In that world, it's probably more dangerous to be singing romantic songs than narcocorridos because it increases the chances that somebody's girlfriend will suddenly decide that you're the cutest thing ever," Wald told AP.

"You're in a world where's it's very, very easy to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or have the wrong friends or look sideway at the wrong girl. The list of things you can do wrong once you're in that world gets very large."

Tovar Rascon's last played locally on Friday, May 23, at Oceans Seven in Scottsdale. Anyone with further information on Torbellino's death should contact David Accomazzo at david.accomazzo at newtimes.com

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