New York-based golf pro Pat Landers, 32, and his girlfriend, Karla Baca, were killed on Monday in Juarez, Mexico. Authorities told KTSM that the couple were driving through the border town in a black Jeep with New York license plates when they were attacked. At least 20 shots were reportedly fired at the vehicle during the incident.
According to Syracuse.com, Baca worked as a physical education teacher in Juarez, the border town near El Paso, Texas. The couple had been quarantining in Mexico amid the COVID-19 outbreak. One of Landers' friends, Adam Howe, said that the couple had met when the golf pro took a trip to Texas several months ago. Landers and Baca had reportedly been dating for "three or four months."
Howe said that Landers had been in Mexico for about three weeks. The two friends last spoke two days prior to the incident in Juarez and they had discussed the effect of Churros on Landers' waistline. The late golf pro also had sent Howe multiple photos of his trips to Mexico on Snapchat. The last featured Landers and Baca in a kitchen.
The El Paso Times reported that Baca had returned to work as a physical education teacher at Federal Primary School 28 on Monday. She was using online classes to work with her students due to the coronavirus. Juarez has been under stay-at-home orders since March 23.
A friend texted Howe on Monday and asked if Landers had been killed in Mexico. Howe said that he had tried calling twice, but no one had picked up the phone. He later learned of Landers' death and spent all of Tuesday crying. Howe said that Landers "really meant a lot to me" and that the late golf pro was supposed to be a groomsman at his wedding in July.
Dave LaBarge, another friend of Landers, said that he learned of the death when his sister texted him a news article about the shooting. The two Syracuse-area men had been friends for about seven years and had spent time together fishing, riding motorcycles and shooting off fireworks on the Fourth of July. According to LaBarge, Landers "was a good dude."
"I want people to know he was a great father and loved his son Cameron," Howe told Spectrum News. "He loved him more than anything in the world." Howe also revealed that he has plans on holding a golf tournament in honor of his friend, with the proceeds being donated to Landers' son.