The mayor of the southwestern town of San Gabriel was fatally shot early Thursday as he left his home, Guatemalan authorities said.

Rene Lopez died in a hospital emergency room in the nearby city of Mazatenango, a police spokesman said.

San Gabriel lies in an area of cattle ranches in the province of Suchitepequez, 170 kilometers (106 miles) southwest of Guatemala City.

Lopez, 43, was elected mayor in September 2011 on the ticket of Guatemala's ruling Patriot Party.

Authorities are trying to determine a motive for the murder. The mayor's family and associates told police he had not received any threats. EFE