MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico City officials said Tuesday an unidentified man disarmed a thief trying to rob passengers aboard a bus, then shot him and another thief to death before fleeing.
The Mexico City prosecutor's office said the bodies of two men were found at the scene of the shooting late Monday, as were two pistols — one of them a toy.
The office quoted witnesses as saying the two men had started robbing passengers at gunpoint when one bus rider wrestled a gun away from one thief, shot him and then killed the accomplice. The other thief may have been holding the toy pistol.
Some local media began calling the passenger "the anonymous avenger," or "Vengador Anonimo," the Spanish title for the 1974 Charles Bronson movie "Death Wish."
Passengers in the neighboring State of Mexico have often resisted armed assaults aboard buses there, often paying with their lives for their resistance.
But the rebellious passengers in the past have often been off-duty policemen commuting to their jobs. Seldom have passengers been able to wrestle a gun away from an assailant.
The comments columns of Mexican newspapers were full of praise for the unidentified man in Monday's case. No arrests have been made in the shootings.
Crime-weary Mexicans have expressed strong, if not majority support for vigilante actions such as the "self-defense" movement of armed farmers who are fighting a drug cartel in the western state of Michoacan.
In an April opinion poll, 56.3 percent of those surveyed thought the Michoacan vigilantes brought more benefit than harm, while 35.6 thought they did more harm than good. Nationwide, outside of Michoacan, the poll suggested 48 percent had a positive or very positive opinion of the vigilantes, while 29 percent had a negative opinion of them. The poll, by the Gabinete de Comunicacion Estrategica, had a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.