NEW YORK (AP) – Undeterred by violence, journalist Bradley Roland Will felt compelled to document what he called human rights abuses around the globe, so he headed to the volatile city of Oaxaca in Mexico. As the situation turned increasingly dangerous, Will decided to stay. Despite his fears, he wanted people to know what was happening in Oaxaca.

“I am entering a new territory here and don’t know if I am ready,” Will wrote Tuesday in an e-mail to an ex-girlfriend. “Life is crazy.”

The 36-year-old videographer from New York was killed Friday in the Mexican city where protesters have barricaded streets and occupied government buildings for five months in a bid to oust the governor.

The gunfire erupted in a rough neighborhood when armed men, possibly police, tried to remove a blockade set up by protesters who were demanding the resignation of Oaxaca Gov. Ulises Ruiz.

“It appears that Mr. Will was killed during a shoot out between what may have been local police” and protesters, Tony Garza, U.S. ambassador to Mexico, said in a written statement.

However, it wasn’t clear who fired the shot that killed Will, who was working for, an independent Web-based media organization, and selling video footage on a freelance basis.

Santa Lucia del Camino Mayor Manuel Martinez Feria said five men had been turned over to state authorities for possible involvement in Will’s killing. He identified them as two members of the local city hall, two municipal police officers and the former justice of the peace of a nearby town.

Paris-based watchdog group Reporters Without Borders released a statement Saturday saying it was “deeply shocked” and “horrified by this escalation of violence.”

Will’s body remained in a morgue near the Red Cross hospital where he died, awaiting instruction from family members.

Word that he died after being shot in the abdomen spread quickly in New York City, where he had lived for more than a decade. Early Saturday, scores of friends crammed into a small bookstore here to remember Will, whom they described as a passionate activist.

Beka Economopoulos, a New York activist and friend, said Will’s death would leave a void in places where journalists are needed. “The community here will miss him,” she said. “Not only because he was a beautiful person, but because the work he was doing was so important. He was passionate about documenting the ills of the world.”

Will had been documenting the upheaval in Oaxaca in Internet dispatches for nearly a month. His reports showed he had strong sympathies with the movement.

“What can you say about this movement, this revolutionary moment,” he wrote in a dispatch dated Oct. 16. “You know it is building, growing, shaping, you can feel it, trying desperately for a direct democracy.”

Fellow documentarian Josh Bregman, who recently returned from Oaxaca, said he felt safe within the barricades among the citizens, but not when police were looming.

“The people that I was with thought my camera would keep them safe,” Bregman said. “They didn’t think anyone would shoot gringo journalists.”

Friends described Will as tall and lanky with long brown hair, glasses and a scruffy beard. He loved folk music, played the guitar and had a huge heart.

“He was a warm, gentle person, who lit up the room with his songs and his cheer,” said Brandon Jourdan, a former roommate.

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