Mexican Police Commander and His Four Children Murdered

The home of the police commander of Veracruz, Mexico, Jesus Antonio Romero, was set on fire on Wednesday morning, killing him and his family. Romero had just recently been appointed operations chief for the joint police force of Veracruz and Boca del Rio when an unknown number of gunmen attacked his home.

Few details of the killings have been released by police, but reports indicate that the family may have been shot to death before the house burst into flames. Romero's 8-year-old son and three teenage daughters perished in the blaze, as did his wife. Veracruz and Boca del Rio have been struggling with ongoing violence due to rival gangs fighting over control of illegal imports and drug trafficking through the port cities.

Since President Felipe Calderon launched the campaign against the drug war and criminal gangs in 2006, close to 1,000 policemen have been murdered. Some policemen have been killed trying to stop the cartels, while others have been threatened due to their corruption and affiliation with the drug gangs.

Mexico's interior minister, Fernando Gomez Mont, recently toured a northern Mexican town where the mayor, police chief, treasurer and a city council member had all been murdered and declared, "Tranquility will return when we rebuild institutions. We have to rebuild the police forces so that they serve the citizenry."