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Updated May 30, 2014 - 2:44 pm

Phoenix-born singer shot to death in Mexico

(Facebook Photo)

MEXICO CITY -- A U.S.-born singer of northern Mexican "banda" music has been shot to death at a restaurant in the border state of Sonora.

State police in Sonora said Phoenix-born Tomas Tovar Rascon was shot several times in Ciudad Obregon.

Tovar Rascon, 33, was better known by his stage name, Tito Torbellino.

His Facebook page said he was scheduled to perform at a concert in Ciudad Obregon on Friday. A U.S. booking agent listed for Torbellino confirmed his death.

Police said two gunmen entered the restaurant Thursday and shot Tovar Rascon at close range. He was taken to a local hospital but died on the way there.

Members of other musical groups have been murdered in Mexico in recent years, usually groups that perform "narcocorridos" that celebrate the exploits of drug traffickers.

But while some guns appear in Torbellino's music videos, his songs mainly focused on unrequited love, not drug gangs.

Experts said drug capos sometimes target musicians because of their ties to rival groups, or sentimental involvements.

In 2013, South Texas singer Jesus "Chuy" Quintanilla was found shot in the head near Mission, Texas. Quintanilla was known for his ballads, including some about the exploits of Mexican drug cartels.

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