Juarez, Mexico — A Syracuse-area man and his girlfriend were gunned down in Juarez, Mexico this week, leaving many questions unanswered for his friends and family back home.
Pat Landers, 32, of Baldwinsville, along with his girlfriend, Karla Baca, were killed Monday when they were attacked while driving a Jeep in Juarez. Police told El Paso, Texas-based KTSM that the suspects fired at least 20 shots at the Jeep.
Dave LaBarge, a Syracuse-area friend of Landers, said he last talked with him on Saturday. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Landers had been quarantining with Baca in Juarez, where she worked as a physical education teacher. The two had been dating for three or four months, LaBarge said.
Landers leaves behind a young son, Cameron.
LaBarge and Landers met around seven years ago while hanging out with mutual friends at Cobblestone Ale House and despite the natural high school rivalry between Liverpool and Baldwinsville, the two became fast friends who both enjoyed fishing and riding motorcycles.
The two also became neighbors when Landers bought a camp next to LaBarge at Brennan Beach along Lake Ontario. There they fished together and had barbecues and celebrations. They had Fourth of July parties there — Landers would shoot off fireworks he brought back from outside the state.
“He was a good dude,” LaBarge said.
Landers was an avid golfer. As a 13-year-old in 2001, he sank a hole-in-one at Pope’s Grove and another at Millstone Golf Course in 2007, according to The Post-Standard archives.
Recently, he worked as a golf pro, which allowed him to travel across the country. He also was a landlord for several investment properties around the Syracuse area. Landers had just finished remodeling a house along the Seneca River, LaBarge said.
“He had an extraordinary life,” LaBarge said.
Landers met Baca on a trip to Texas several months ago, according to Adam Howe, another of Landers’ friends. Howe said Landers liked to travel to Las Vegas and other areas in the south because of the warm weather.
When Landers traveled to Mexico, he sent Howe pictures on Snapchat, often of himself with Baca. The last few he received were of the two in a kitchen, Howe said.
Landers had been in Mexico for about three weeks, according to Howe. The last time the two talked was just a few days ago. Landers told his friend that he was trying to learn more Spanish and joked that if he ate any more churros, he’d be fatter than Howe, Howe said.
On Monday, a friend texted Howe and asked if Landers had been killed. Howe tried calling his friend twice and no one picked up the call, Howe said.
Much of what Landers’ friends know has come from articles about the shooting by media in Mexico. LaBarge said he learned of Landers’ death when his sister texted him a news article about the shooting.
After Howe found out about Landers’ death, he said he spent all of Tuesday crying. Landers was supposed to be a groomsman in Howe’s wedding in July.
“He really meant a lot to me,” Howe said.
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