CARACAS – A police officer was arrested Tuesday afternoon for his alleged involvement in the death of a 14-year-old boy during a demonstration in the western Venezuelan city of San Cristobal, Interior Minister Carmen Melendez announced.
“An officer with the Bolivarian National Police was arrested for presumably being linked to the incident, saying he had fired one shot at the student with a shotgun (loaded with) rubber bullets ... He was immediately turned over to the Public Ministry to establish responsibility,” Melendez told state-run VTV television by telephone.
The Public Ministry reported shortly before that statement in a communique that it would indict Officer Javier Mora Ortiz, 23, for his supposed link to the death of the boy.
The minister also said that the teen, Kliver Roa, died in the Barrio Obrero sector of the city “during the protests” on Tuesday there after being wounded in the back of the head about 11 a.m.
Melendez expressed regret over Roa’s death and sent “heartfelt condolences” to his relatives and friends, issuing a call to “keep the peace” both in the western state of Tachira, where the protest occurred, as well as in the rest of the country.
The Attorney General’s Office also said in the communique that the preliminary information produced by the investigation indicates that “the death of the teenager occurred during a protest that unfolded ... in the Barrio Obrero sector of San Cristobal,” although it did not specify the precise circumstances.
The Public Ministry has appointed two national prosecutors and one Tachira state prosecutor to investigate the incident, the communique said.