A 32-year-old man and his girlfriend were killed in broad daylight while quarantining in Mexico during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Pat Landers, a Syracuse resident, was driving along a street in Juarez with his girlfriend Karla Baca when they were gunned down. The unidentified gunmen reportedly opened fire on their Jeep with New York plates with at least 20 bullets. 

Law enforcement officers from the border city south of El Paso are investigating the crime. 

Landers and Baca, a physical education teacher, were dating for several months and were following the lockdown measures together in Mexico.

Landers leaves behind a young son named Cameron. 

Remembering Pat

Landers worked as a golf pro. In 2001, he sank a hole-in-one at Pope's Grove at 13-years-old. He sank another hole-in-one at the Millstone Golf Course a few years later. 

He was reportedly a landlord for several investment properties within the Syracuse area. He had just finished remodeling his house by the Seneca River this year. 

Pat and Karla met when he went on a trip to Texas months ago. Landers had been staying in Mexico for three weeks before he was shot and killed. 

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Adam Howe, one of the victim's friends, said Pat was supposed to be a groomsman at his wedding this year. "He loved his son more than anything in this world.Howe plans to organize a golf tournament and donate the proceeds to Lander's son, Cameron. 

Murder Rising Amid Isolation Protocols

Mexico's homicide rate surged during March despite the government-imposed coronavirus lockdowns. A recent report published Friday showed killing rose 8.46 percent from February to March. Authorities reported more than 3,000 homicides from the previous month's 2,766. 

The March murder rate surpassed that of the 3,074 recorded killings registered in July 2018. After Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office in December 2018, homicides stabilized at 2,850 per month. 

Involvement of Drug Cartels in Mexico

Authorities reported over 46,000 murder cases since the leftist leader entered office. Lopez Obrador blames the killings on drug cartels who are known for entering bloody and fatal wars for territory and drug-trafficking routes. 

Guanajuato, a city in central Mexico, had a record of 1,163 murders from January to April 2020. The state is home to two drug cartels---the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel. Both groups have been engaged in bloody turf wars since December 2017. 

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Mexico's Drug Enforcement Agency offered a $10 million reward for information that can help in the arrest of Jalisco New Generation Cartel's leader, Nemesio 'El Mencho' Oseguera Cervantes. 

The Jalisco New Generation cartel is considered the most powerful criminal syndicate in the country. Their presence can be found in 24 states of Mexico's 32. They are known to ship cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and fentanyl to the U.S. 

Guanajuato has seen stable economic growth in recent years. There are job opportunities available in factories, assembly plants, and the auto industry, among others. However, Lopez Obrador believes the city's growth did not help improve its residents' welfare. 

"It is the state with the most violence," he said. That has to do with other causes like inequality."

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