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Edgar DeJesus
Israel Colon
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Hector Figueroa

Tanya K. Hernandez
 Angelo Falcón


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Note: Well, it turns out that we missed a few notable Latinos in our list of those who passed away in 2012. We have updated our listing below with the following entries: activist Alice Cardona, musician Marcel Curuchet, poet/essayist Luis Reyes Rivera, activist Yolanda Sanchez, and boxer Teofilo Stevenson. A few people thought that Piri Thomas and Hector Gesualdo passed away last year, but this happened in 2011. I personallywas relieved that no one had submitted my name.


Special thanks to NiLPsters Elba Cabrera, Henry Arce, Sandra Guzman, Jesus Papoleto Melendez and Alex Trillo for their feedback. They are now official NiLP Obituarians, doomed to double-check our annual listings of notable Latino dead until, that is, they are on it. Congratulations!

---Angelo Falcón

NiLP's List of

Notable Latinos and

Latin Americans

Who Died in 2012

By Angelo Falcón (Updated January 2, 2013) 


La muerte es una vida vivida.

La vida es una muerte que viene.

--- Jorge Luis Borges


As we looked back on 2012, we thought we would get a jump on those articles that totally or largely ignore Latinos in the end-of-the year lists of notable deaths. These lists not only imply that there are no or very few notable Latinos, but also that not many of us die at all (which could be a good thing if it were true). We were also motivated by the In Memoriam segment of the Oscars where I spend most of the time yelling out, "Holy shit, I didn't know he (or she) died this year!"


Anyway, NiLP's crack team of Obituarians got to work and non-literally visited every crematorium and turned over every head stone and memorial we could get our hands under in between viewing reruns of "The Walking Dead." As a result, we have come up with a pretty extensive list of notable Latinos and Latin Americans who passed away this past year. It is, of course, not complete, but we think it's better than anything you are going to find in the media and elsewhere. To add to the creepiness of the list, we included, where we could, the cause of death, which involved such things as "explosion," "strangled," "hit and run," "shooting," "stabbing" and, my favorite, "bludgeoning."


For Latinos, we witnessed the high profile deaths of Mexican-American singer-actress "la diva de la banda" Jenni Rivera and legendary Puerto Rican boxer Hector "Macho" Camacho. As the year came to a close, the horrific school shootings in the Newtown, Connecticut brought to the nation a deep sadness and focused Latinos on the deaths of two Puerto Ricans, 6-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene and 27-year-old heroic teacher Victoria Soto. The world of letters lost the frighteningly talented writer Carlos Fuentes, as well as pioneers in the making of the Chicano Movement like Juan Valdez, Ben Lujan and Frank P. Hernandez. Mexican-American actress and artistic institution, Lupe Ontiveros, along with Puerto Rico's path breaking politician and singer, Ruth Fernandez, also died. In the Puerto Rican community, the deaths of amazing guitarist and longtime NiLP friend Yomo Toro, community leader Raquel Creitoff, and the "Puerto Rican Beyoncé," Lorena Escalera, were heartfelt by many. Religious pioneers like Archbishop Robert Fortune Sanchez and Cardinal Luis Aponte Martinez also left us in 2012.


As you review the list below, you will observe the simple truth that there are many notable Latinos in many fields where they have achieved excellence. Hey, we even threw in a few drug lords as well as some "honorary" Latinos like the guy who played Epstein, the Puerto Rican Jew, in the TV sitcom, "Welcome Back Kotter."


If you see some major omissions or errors in the list below, please let us know and maybe we will publish an update (and if you are on this list but are not yet dead, please accept our deepest apologies); write to me at 


Notable Latino Deaths in 2012



Roy Bryce-Laporte, 78, American sociologist.

Fabián Estapé, 88, Spanish economist.

Agustín García Calvo, 86, Spanish academic, respiratory failure.

Eduardo Morales Miranda, 102, Chilean educator, co-founder of the Universidad  Austral de Chile.

Leopoldo García-Colín, 81, Mexican physicist.

Mara Negrón, 51, professor at University of Puerto Rico's Women and Gender Studies Program.

Alejandro Rodriguez, 93, American psychiatrist and academic.

Arturo Andrés Roig, 89, Argentine philosopher.


Actors and Entertainers

Joel Barcellos, 76, Brazilian actor.

Hebe Camargo, 83, Brazilian television presenter, cardiac arrest.

Rafael Corporán de los Santos, 71, Dominican television producer, host, and politician.

Regina Dourado, 59, Brazilian actress, breast cancer.

Lorena Escalera (aka La'reina Xtravaganza), 25, New York entertainer know as the "Puerto Rican Beyoncé."

César Fernández Ardavín, 89, Spanish film director (El Lazarillo de Tormes).

Juan Luis Galiardo, 72, Spanish actor (Anthony and Cleopatra, Tango), lung cancer.

Lucy Gallardo, 82, Argentine-born Mexican film and telenovela actress (How the   Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Silvana Gallardo, 58, American actress.

Juan Carlos Gené, 82, Argentine actor and playwright.

Sancho Gracia, 75, Spanish actor, lung cancer.

Robert Hegyes, 60, New Jersey-born actor who played Jewish Puerto-Rican wheeler-dealer Juan Luis Pedro Phillipo de Huevos Epstein on the 1970s classic TV sitcom Welcome Back Kotter.

Joaquín Martínez, 81, Mexican-born American actor (Jeemiah Johnson, Die  Another Day), pancreatic cancer.

Carmen Martínez Sierra, 108, Spanish actress.

Patricia Medina, 92, British actress, natural causes.

Yolanda Mérida, 82, Mexican actress.

Oscar Núñez, 83, Argentine actor (Good Life Delivery), cancer.

Lupe Ontiveros, 69, American actress (Desperate Housewives, Selena, The  Goonies), liver cancer

Pepe Rubio, 80, Spanish actor.

Manola Saavedra, 76, Spanish-born Mexican actress.

José Luis Uribarri, 75, Spanish television presenter and director (Televisión  Española), cerebral hemorrhage.



Frank Braña, 77, Spanish film actor, respiratory failure.

Gerardo Chavez, 94, Peruvian artist.

Isaac Díaz Pardo, 91, Spanish artist.

Pedro E. Guerrero, 95, American photographer, cancer.

Nicolás Moreno, 88, Mexican landscape painter.

Édgar Negret, 92, Colombian sculptor, cancer and heart failure.

Spain Rodriguez, 72, American underground cartoonist, cancer.

Antoni Tàpies, 88, Spanish painter.


Athletes - Latin America and Spain

Marcos Alonso Imaz, 78, Spanish football player (Real Madrid).

Alex Alves, 37, Brazilian footballer (Hertha BSC), leukemia.

Víctor Cabedo, 23, Spanish racing cyclist, road accident.

Miguel Calero, 41, Colombian footballer, cerebral thrombosis.

Félix, 74, Brazilian footballer, 1970 FIFA World Cup winner, cardiac arrest.

Fidélis, 68, Brazilian footballer (Bangu Atlético Clube), cancer.

Diego Mendieta, 32, Paraguayan footballer, viral infection.

Juan Francisco Lombardo, 86, Argentine football player.

Alfonso Montemayor, 90, Mexican footballer (Club León).

Ladislao Nerio, 35, Salvadoran football player (C.D. Águila), strangled.

Pépito Pavon, 71, Spanish footballer (Olympique de Marseille).

Manuel Peña Escontrela, 46, Spanish footballer (Real Zaragoza, Real Valladolid), cancer.

Manuel Preciado Rebolledo, 54, Spanish football player and coach (Sporting Gijón, Racing Santander), heart attack.

Salvador Reyes Monteón, 76, Mexican footballer *Club Deportivo Guadalajara Salvador Reyes), colon cancer

Sansón, 87, Spanish football player.

Ramón Sota, 74, Spanish golfer, pneumonia.

Raúl Valencia, 36, Spanish footballer, following a long illness.

Azumir Veríssimo, 77, Brazilian footballer.

Luis Aloy Vidal, 82, Spanish football player (FC Barcelona, Real Oviedo).

José María Zárraga, 81, Spanish footballer and manager.

Estanislao Basora, 85, Spanish footballer.

Jordan da Costa, 79, Brazilian footballer (Flamengo), diabetes.

Paulo Rodrigues da Silva, 25, Brazilian footballer, car crash.

Juan Escudero, 91, Spanish footballer.

MS-1, 55, Mexican professional wrestler, car accident.

Felipe Fernández, 74, Argentine basketball player.

Juan Carlos Pérez López, 66, Spanish footballer.

Roberto Mieres, 87, Argentine racing driver.


Athletes - United States and Puerto Rico

Rogelio Álvarez, 74, Cuban-born American baseball player (Cincinnati Reds), complications of kidney disease.

Pedro Borbón, 65, Dominican Republic-born American baseball player (Cincinnati Reds), cancer.

Héctor Camacho, 50, Puerto Rican boxer, injuries from gunshot.

Tom Martinez, 66, American football coach, heart attack.

Sergio Oliva, 71, Cuban-born American bodybuilder, Mr. Olympia (1967-1969).

Pascual Pérez, 55, Dominican baseball player (Atlanta Braves, Montreal Expos, New York Yankees), bludgeoning.

Eusebio Razo, Jr., 46, Mexican-born American jockey, explosion.

Roberto Rodríguez, 70, Venezuelan baseball player (Kansas City/Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs), heart attack.

Raul Rojas, 70, American boxer.

Johnny Tapia, 45, American boxer.


Athletes - Olympic Medalists

Daniel Alba, 71, Mexican Olympic wrestler.

Carlos Figueroa, 80, Spanish Olympic equestrian.

Ruy de Freitas, 95, Brazilian Olympic bronze medal-winning (1948) basketball player, multiple organ failure.

Julio César González, 35, Mexican Olympic boxer, injuries from a hit and run.

Arnaldo Mesa, 45, Cuban Olympic silver medal-winning (1996) boxer, stroke.

Iñaki Lejarreta, 29, Spanish Olympic (2008) mountain biker, traffic collision.

Nelson Prudêncio, 68, Brazilian Olympic silver (1968) and bronze (1972) medal-winning triple jumper, complications from lung cancer.


Community Leaders

Ruben Acosta, 52, Cuban-born Michigan attorney and community leader, malignant brain tumor

Nilda Alvarez, 79, Puerto Rican community leader in Brentwood, New York, longime coordinator of Pronto of Long Island, massive stroke she suffered after dancing at a wedding,

Eva Calderon, 65, Mexican parent leader in Chicago, breast cancer

Alice Cardona, 81, Puerto Rican community actisist and feminist in NYC,

Raquel Creitoff, 91, Puerto Rican community leader in New York City.

Pedro Juan Herrera, 89, known as "Mr. Baseball," co-founded the Roberto Clemente Baseball League in Buffalo, NY.

Nélida Gómez de Navajas, 76, Argentine human rights activist (Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo).

Daniel Jara, 61, of Hackensack, NJ, Peruvian-born businessman who led the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey.

Esther Medina, 76, San Jose, California community leader of Mexican American Community Services Agency (MACSA).

Silvia Rodriguez, 71, social work leader in Porterville, Washington.

Yolanda Sanchez, 80, Pioneering Puerto Rican community leader in El Barrio, NYC,

Juan Valdez, 74, land grant activist who fired first shot during 1967 New Mexico courthouse raid that grabbed international attention and helped spark the Chicano Movement.

Vidal Vega, 48, Paraguayan peasant leader, shooting.



Pedro Arroyo, 60, Spanish Broadcasting System executive and founder of National Salsa Day in Puerto Rico, respiratory arrest.

María Teresa Castillo, 103, Venezuelan journalist and activist, founder of the Caracas Athenaeum.

Raquel Correa, 78, Chilean journalist, cerebral damage followed by heart failure.

Eduardo J. Corso, 92, Uruguayan journalist and lawyer.

Manuel Salvat Dalmau, 86, Spanish publisher.

Luis Javier Garrido, 71, Mexican political analyst.

Julio Ghigliotty Matos, 62, veteran Puerto Rican journalist who worked for The Associated Press and other organizations.

Mingote, 93, Spanish cartoonist, writer, and journalist.

Andrew Viglucci, 84, the longtime editor of Puerto Rico's San Juan Star and an early colleague of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist William Kennedy.

Michael J. Ybarra, 45, American journalist and author, climbing accident.



Mario Arturo Acosta Chaparro, 70, Mexican army general, shot.

Carlos Büsser, 84, Argentine admiral, led the 1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands, heart attack.

Albano Harguindeguy, 85, Argentine general.

Juan Manuel Montero Vázquez, 64, Spanish military surgeon.

Ítalo Piaggi, 77, Argentine army officer (Battle of Goose Green).

José Martins Ribeiro Nunes, 85, Brazilian naval pilot.



Carmélia Alves, 89, Brazilian baião singer, multiple organ seizure.

Emilio Aragón Bermúdez, 83, Spanish clown, accordionist, and singer.

Luisito Ayala, 60, Puerto Rican vocalist and percussionist, cerebral hemorrhage.

José Roberto Bertrami, 66, Brazilian pianist and keyboardist (Azymuth).

Roland Bautista, 60, American guitarist (Earth, Wind & Fire).

Augusto Bracca, 94, Venezuelan songwriter, respiratory arrest.

Cali Carranza, 59, American Tejano musician, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Federico A. Cordero, 84, Puerto Rican classical guitarist.

Charles Flores, 41, Cuban-born American jazz bassist, throat cancer.

Junior Gonzalez, 63, Puerto Rican salsa singer.

Zenaida Manfugás, 90, Cuban-born American pianist.

Rafael Rincón González, 89, Venezuelan musician.

Jenni Rivera, 43, American-born Mexican banda and norteño singer, plane crash.

Yomo Toro, 78, legendary Puerto Rican cuatro guitarist.

Chavela Vargas, , Costa Rican-born Mexican singer/ 


Musical Composers

Bernardo Bonezzi, 48, Spanish film music composer.

Altamiro Carrilho, 87, Brazilian musician and composer, lung cancer.

Luis de los Cobos, 85, Spanish composer.

Ed Lincoln, 80, Brazilian composer and musician, respiratory failure.

Maestro Reverendo, 57, Spanish musician and composer, cancer.

Chavela Vargas, 93, Costa Rican-born Mexican singer-songwriter, respiratory arrest.


Public Officials - United States and Puerto Rico

Ruben Ayala, 89, American politician, California State Senator (1974-1998), first elected Mayor of Chino, California (1964-1966).

Juan H. Cintrón García, 93, Puerto Rican politician.

Margarita Esquiroz, 67. former Miami-Dade Judge Circuit who served 28 years on the bench and was among the first Hispanic jurists elected in South Florida, complications from cancer.

Ruth Fernández, 92, Puerto Rican singer and politician, Senator (1973-1981).

Tom Fuentes, 63, American political leader, Orange County Republican Party chairman (1985-2004), liver cancer.

Mario Gallegos, Jr., 62, American politician, Texas State Senator (since 1995), complications of liver disease.

Frank P. Hernandez, 73, the first Hispanic to be appointed a judge in Dallas County, Texas, part of the Commission on Mexican-American Affairs ("the Dirty Dozen").

Ben Luján, 77, American politician, member of the New Mexico House of Representatives (since 1975), Speaker (since 2001), lung cancer.

Samuel B. Nunez, Jr., 81, American politician, President of the Louisiana State Senate (1983-1988; 1990-1996).

Mercedes Otero, Puerto Rican politician, member of Senate (1993 to 2001).

Roberto Rexach Benítez, 82, Puerto Rican politician, President of the Senate (1993-1996).

Pedro Toledo, 69, Puerto Rican public official, Superintendent of the Puerto Rico Police Department (1993-2001, 2005-2009), cardiac arrest.


Public Officials - Latin America and Spain

Adolfo Calero, 80, Nicaraguan businessman, leader of the Democratic Force, pneumonia and kidney failure.

Santiago Carrillo, 97, Spanish politician, veteran of the Spanish Civil War.

Catarina Castor, 32, Guatemalan Patriotic Party Congresswoman, crash of private plane.

Eduardo Castro Luque, 48, Mexican politician, shooting.

María Eugenia Cordovez, Ecuadorian First Lady (1984-1988), former wife of León Febres Cordero, cardiac arrest.

Miguel de la Madrid, 77, Mexican politician, President (1982-1988), complications of pulmonary emphysema

Héctor Cornejo Chávez, 93, Peruvian politician.

Antonio Cubillo, 82, Spanish politician, founder of Canary Islands Independence Movement.

Sergio Marqués Fernández, 65, Spanish politician, President of the Principality of Asturias (1995-1999).

Edgardo Mercado Jarrín, 92, Peruvian politician, Prime Minister (1973-1975).

Manuel Fraga Iribarne, 89, Spanish politician, President of the Xunta of Galicia (1990-2005), founder of the People's Party, heart failure.

José Merino del Río, 63, Costa Rican politician, kidney cancer.

Édgar Morales Pérez, Mexican politician, mayor-elect of Matehuala, shooting.

Israel Nogueda Otero, 77, Mexican politician and economist, Governor of Guerrero (1971-1975), heart attack.

Alfonso Orueta, 82, Chilean politician and football manager.

Gregorio Peces-Barba, 74, Spanish politician and jurist, renal failure.

Juan Pereda, 81, Bolivian military leader, President (1978).

Abel Salinas, 82, Peruvian politician.

Enrique Silva Cimma, 93, Chilean politician, Foreign Minister (1990-1994), bronchial obstruction.

Txillardegi, 82, Basque writer and politician.

Pedro Vázquez Colmenares, 74, Mexican politician, Governor of Oaxaca (1980-1985).

Rodolfo Félix Valdés, 86, Mexican politician, Governor of Sonora (1985-1991).

Jorge Salvador Lara, 85, Ecuadorian historian and politician, Minister of Foreign Affairs (1966, 1976-1977).

Carlos Soria, 63, Argentine politician, Secretary of Intelligence (2002), Governor of Río Negro (since 2011), shot.

Oscar Valentín Leal Caal, 41, Guatemalan politician, Congressman (since 2008), shot.

Carlos Escarrá, 57, Venezuelan politician, Attorney General (since 2011), heart attack.

Ronaldo Cunha Lima, 76, Brazilian poet and politician, Governor of Paraíba (1991-1994), lung cancer.

Jaime Serrano Cedillo, 45, Mexican politician, stabbing.

Héctor Tizón, 82, Argentinian writer and diplomat.


Religious Leaders - United States and Puerto Rico

Luis Aponte Martinez, 89, the second Puerto Rican to be ordained a bishop and the only Puerto Rican cardinal, after a long illness.

Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, 69, American theologian, cancer.

Hermano Pablo, 90, American evangelist and broadcaster.

Agustin Roman, 83, Cuban-born American Roman Catholic prelate, Auxiliary Bishop of Miami (1979-2003), heart attack.

Robert Fortune Sanchez, 77, the nation's first Hispanic archbishop, died in Albuquerque of complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Juan Fremiot Torres Oliver, 86, Puerto Rican Roman Catholic prelate, Bishop of Ponce (1964-2000).


Religious Leaders - Latin America and Spain

Jerónimo Tomás Abreu Herrera, 81, Dominican Roman Catholic prelate, Bishop of Mao-Monte Cristi (1978-2006).[

Eladio Acosta Arteaga, 95, Colombian Roman Catholic prelate, Archbishop of Santa Fe de Antioquia (1988-1992).

José Alves da Costa, 73, Brazilian Roman Catholic prelate, Bishop of Corumbá (1991-1999).

Ramón Búa Otero, 78, Spanish Roman Catholic prelate, Bishop of Tarazona (1982-1989) and Calahorra y La Calzada-Logroño (1989-2003).

José Cerviño Cerviño, 91, Spanish Roman Catholic prelate, Bishop of Tui-Vigo (1976-1996).

Lucas Luis Dónnelly, 91, Argentine Roman Catholic prelate.

Manuel Eguiguren Galarraga, 82, Spanish-born Bolivian Roman Catholic prelate, Auxiliary Vicar Apostolic of El Beni (1981-2007).

José Freire de Oliveira Neto, 83, Brazilian Roman Catholic prelate, Bishop of Mossoró (1984-2004).

Ireneo García Alonso, 89, Spanish Roman Catholic prelate, Bishop of Albacete (1968-1980).

Luiz Gonzaga Bergonzini, 76, Brazilian Roman Catholic prelate, Bishop of Guarulhos (1991-2011).

Eduardo Herrera Riera, 85, Venezuelan Roman Catholic prelate, Bishop of Carora (1994-2003), cancer.

Eduardo Koaik, 86, Brazilian Roman Catholic prelate, Bishop of Piracicaba (1984-2002), cancer.

Aloysio José Leal Penna, 79, Brazilian Roman Catholic prelate, Archbishop of Botucatu (2000-2008).

Luíz Eugênio Pérez, 84, Brazilian Roman Catholic prelate, Bishop of Jales (1970-1981) and Jaboticabal (1981-2003), complications following surgery.

Rodolfo Quezada Toruño, 80, Guatemalan Roman Catholic cardinal, Archbishop of Guatemala (2001-2010), intestinal blockage.

Pedro Reginaldo Lira, 97, Argentinian Roman Catholic prelate, Bishop of San Francisco in Argentina (1961-1965), and Auxiliary Bishop of Salta (1967-1978).[

José Rodrigues de Souza, 86, Brazilian Roman Catholic prelate, Bishop of Juazeiro (1975-2003).[

Odorico Leovigildo Sáiz Pérez, 100, Spanish-born Peruvian Roman Catholic prelate, Vicar Apostolic of Requena (1973-1987).[

Faustino Sainz Muñoz, 75, Spanish Roman Catholic prelate, Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain (2004-2010), cancer .

Alcides Mendoza Castro, 84, Peruvian Roman Catholic prelate, Archbishop of Cuzco (1983-2003).

Joviano de Lima Júnior, 70, Brazilian Roman Catholic prelate, Archbishop of Ribeirão Preto (since 2006).

José Sótero Valero Ruz, 76, Venezuelan Roman Catholic prelate, Bishop of Guanare (2001-2011).

Felipe Fernández García, 76, Spanish Roman Catholic prelate, Bishop of Ávila (1976-1991) and San Cristóbal de La Laguna o Tenerife (1991-2005).



Miguel Arteche, 86, Chilean poet and novelist.

Antonio Cisneros, 69, Peruvian poet, lung cancer.

Jayne Cortez, 76, American poet and performance artist.

Millôr Fernandes, 87, Brazilian cartoonist, humorist, and playwright, multiple organ failure.

Carlos Fuentes, 83, Panamanian-born Mexican novelist, internal hemorrhage.

Claude-Anne Lopez, 92, American author and scholar, Alzheimer's disease.

Pedro Medina Avendaño, 96, Colombian poet.

Carmen Naranjo, 83, Costa Rican novelist, poet and essayist, cancer.

Décio Pignatari, 85, Brazilian poet, essayist and translator, respiratory failure.

Antonio Segura, 64, Spanish comics writer.

Horacio Vázquez-Rial, 65, Argentine-born Spanish writer, cancer.



Francisco Fernández Fernández, 111, Spanish supercentenarian, oldest in country and oldest man in Europe.

Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, 37, Mexican drug lord (Los Zetas), shooting.

María Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat, 90, Argentine business executive and philanthropist.

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6, killed in Newtown, Connecticut school shooting.

Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo, 77, Spanish-born Cuban dissident (Alpha 66), heart attack.

Warren Morrow, 34, an Mexico-born advocate for Latino businesses, CEO and Founder of Coopera in Iowa.

Oswaldo Payá, 60, Cuban dissident, recipient of the 2002 Sakharov Prize, traffic collision.

Victoria Soto, 27, Puerto Rican teacher who died as a hero in the tragic shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Manuel Torres Félix, 58, Mexican drug trafficker for the Sinaloa Cartel, shooting.

Griselda Blanco, 69, Colombian drug trafficker known as The Cocaine Godmother, notorious in the 1970s and 1980s for her substantial cocaine business in Queens, New York, and drug-related brutality in Miami known as the Cocaine Cowboy Wars, shot twice in the head in a motorcycle assassination.