The former Governor of Mexico's "violence-wracked" state of Jalisco died early Friday morning after being shot in the back while in a restaurant bathroom, the Guardian reports. Authorities say that Aristóteles Sandoval, 46, was vacationing in Puerto Vallarta when he was gunned down, per the New York Times. No suspects had been identified as of Friday, but some security experts tell the Times that the killing could be the work of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. Security analyst Eduardo Guerrero says the cartel has "complete dominion" over the resort city located on Mexico's Pacific coast: "No other group has the reach of these guys to assassinate a former governor," he adds. "They are a cartel of great audacity, that isn't intimidated, that aims at the highest levels."
Sandoval, who was at the restaurant with four others, went to use the bathroom about 1:40am and was shot, according to reports. His two bodyguards attempted to evacuate him, but were met by more gunmen outside, and a bodyguard was seriously injured when shooting began. Sandoval died soon after at a hospital. The attack was "not a fortuitous or circumstantial act," Jalisco Attorney General Gerardo Solís said, per the BBC. "There was a synchronization of events to find the former governor in his most vulnerable moment." Sandoval's killing may indicate that cartels are becoming more involved in local politics, the Times notes. "There are still questions to be asked about how separate politics and organized crime really are," says analyst Falko Ernst. "This unleashes the beast." Guerrero tells the paper that Mexico is going to see "unprecedented levels of electoral political violence" in the coming months. (Read more Mexico stories.)