A young evangelical pastor was among the 14 people slain in Puerto Rico in the first week of 2013, police reported Monday.

The most recent murder occurred Sunday at 9:55 p.m. in Canovanas, east of San Juan, where an unknown assailant walked up to Kedin Adorno Fuentes, 22, and shot him several times in the face.

Minutes before, police had reported the murder of Ian Carlos Rivera Colon, 23, at a gas station in the central town of Corozal.

However, the most talked about case was that of 20-year-old pastor Julio Enrique Lopez Castro, who was murdered last Saturday while he was working in a cell phone store in the eastern town of Rio Grande.

Police said that Lopez Castro was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher after his attackers tied him up with telephone cables and gagged him.

Puerto Rico's crime problems attracted serious attention when in 2011 the 1,000-murder mark was surpassed, though the number of murders fell slightly last year.

The island's new governor, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, announced on Thursday that he had signed an executive order for the National Guard to exercise "vigilance in the port and airport zones with the aim of preventing the entry of illegal drugs and weapons."

U.N. figures from 2008 put the island's murder rate at 20.3 homicides per 100,000 residents, compared with 5.0 per 100,000 in the rest of the United States.

Puerto Rican authorities blame most of the carnage on strife among rival drug gangs. EFE