A California man on Friday pleaded guilty to shooting a U.S. diplomat in Mexico, the Department of Justice said.
Zia Zafar, 33, of Chino Hills California, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder of an internationally protected person and one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.
“Zia Zafar surveilled and targeted a U.S. official serving in Mexico, lying in wait before shooting him in the chest in a heinous act of premeditated violence,” said acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan. “Today’s guilty plea sends a clear message that the Department of Justice will aggressively prosecute those who seek to harm U.S. officials serving overseas.”
On January 6, 2017, surveillance video captured Zafar stalking and shooting State Department official Christopher Ashcroft as he was exiting a gym parking lot in Mexico.
Wearing purple medical scrubs, big sunglasses and a wig as a disguise, Zafar targeted Mr. Ashcraft over a denied visa.
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