CIUDAD JUAREZ – Ernesto “El Neto” Piñón, the leader of the Mexicles gang who escaped from prison on Sunday, was killed by state police early Thursday morning, according to a press release from the Chihuahua state prosecutor’s office.

A joint force of military and state authorities located Piñón, whom they called the “principal objective” of the investigation to find the escaped prisoners, early Thursday in the Colonia Aztecas. Piñón fled a home in an armored BMW and crashed near the intersection of Carlos Amaya and Cartagena streets, where he opened fire against officials.

Remnants of the armored BMW that state authorities say Ernesto “El Neto” Piñón crashed early Thursday morning lie near a gas station at Carlos Amaya and Cartagena streets. Piñón, who escaped from CERESO on Jan. 1, was killed by state police. (Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters)

He was wounded in the shootout and died later, according to the state prosecutor’s office. Piñón was one of several inmates who escaped from the Juárez prison on Sunday. Most of the escapees are still at-large.

A leaked photo shared with the media on Thursday shows a body in the bed of a white pickup truck. The deceased individual, apparently Piñón, is wearing a black hoodie and has injuries on his torso and head.

After Piñón’s killing, several seemingly retaliatory incidents occurred around the city Thursday morning. An Oxxo convenience store in the Riberas del Bravo Etapa 8 neighborhood was burned. Separately, subjects crashed a hijacked vehicle into the front of an SMart store on Independencia Boulevard. No injuries are reported in either incident.

Armored vehicles are stationed in front of the state police headquarters in preparation for potential attacks. Convoys of state police and unmarked investigative police on high alert continue to patrol the city throughout the day.

Armored SWAT vehicles are stationed at the entrance to the state police headquarters in Juárez due to fears of possible retaliatory attacks after authorities fatally shot prison escapee and Mexicles leader Ernesto “El Neto” Piñón early Thursday morning. (Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters)

Also, one of the Sunday CERESO prison escapees was captured on a security camera on Tuesday attempting to cross the border into the United States, prompting a search in which El Paso authorities also participated, Chihuahua’s Secretario de Seguridad Pública Estatal (State Secretary of Public Security, SSPE) said.

This search appears to have been unsuccessful as SSPE has given no additional information on the whereabouts or capture of the escapee. In an updated list with photos of each escapee SSPE identified 30 fugitives. The official number of escaped prisoners had previously fluctuated from 27 to 25.

Corrie Boudreaux is a lecturer in the Department of Communication at UTEP and a freelance photojournalist in the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez region. She specializes in photography as a tool to explore insecurity,...