NYC Filmmaker Shot, Killed In Oaxaca, Mexico

Brad Will (Wheyler), a 36-year-old freelance journalist and videographer working for Indymedia, was fatally shot near Oaxaca City, Mexico while trying to conduct interviews about a five-month teachers strike there. Will had been in Mexico for six weeks. Osvaldo Ramirez, photographer for the daily paper Milenio, was also shot in the leg.

According to Indymedia, Will “was shot in the torso while documenting an armed, paramilitary assault on the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca, a fusion of striking local teachers and other community organizations demanding democracy in Mexico.”

According to Will’s friend and colleague Al Giordano, Giordano had pled with his friend in an e-mail not to go to Oaxaca, and “to instead go to Atenco and report on the story there of the arrival of Zapatista comandantes”:

“Our Oaxaca team is firmly embedded. There are a chingo of other internacionales roaming around there looking for the big story, but the situation is very delicate, the APPO doesn’t trust anyone it hasn’t known for years, and they keep telling me not to send newcomers, because the situation is so fucking tense … If you are coming to Mexico, I would much more recommend your hanging around DF-Atenco and reporting that story which is about to begin. The APPO is (understandably) very distrustful of people it doesn’t already know. And we have enough hands on deck there to continue breaking the story. But what is about to happen in Atenco-DF needs more hands on deck.”

Will’s response:

thanks for the quick get back—i have a hd professional camera—i have heard reports about the level of distrust in oax and it is disconcerting—i think i will still go—i wont tell them you sent me and i am open to other suggestions on how to spend my time—i dont know what is happening in atenco in the coming days—i may connect with la otra capitulo dos somewhere along the way—great to hear from you—do you have a cell / phone number?
b rad”

Will’s final known article, “Death in Oaxaca,” was published October 17.