Police say Robin Wood, 67, of Salt Spring Island, B.C., was killed Tuesday when he stood up to two suspects who tried to rob a friend's home in the town of Melaque, south of Puerto Vallarta.
"He struggled with the attacker, he resisted the robbery, and he was shot in the chest," Hugo Flores, of the Cihuatlan municipal police, said in a telephone interview.
Four emergency vehicles were dispatched when police got the call and they closed all the exits into the area so the suspects could not escape, Flores said.
"We conducted an extensive search but were unable to locate them, so we have now turned the investigation over to the state authorities, who will continue the investigation," said Flores.
There isn't much to go on because the robbers were masked, but police said they would devote all their resources to finding the suspects.
"We are very concerned to ensure justice is done in this case," said Flores.
"Given the large number of Canadians who vacation here, it isn't to anyone's advantage to have them be hurt in any way."
According to police, Wood was taken to hospital after the attack, where he died of a gunshot wound to the right side of his chest.
An autopsy has already been conducted and all the information has been turned over to state authorities, who will also deal with the repatriation of his body.
Residents of the small B.C., island where the retired mechanic lived described him as a bright, likable man who got along with everybody and took life's difficulties in stride.
Some of those expressing their condolences on social media also took aim at Mexico's safety record, angry that another Canadian was killed while visiting the popular sun destination.
Mexican police, however, were quick to reassure Canadians the country was safe.
"This is an isolated robbery, but we will keep looking for those responsible and sooner or later we will catch them," said Flores.