PANAMA CITY – The director of Panama’s National Culture Institute, Anel Omar Rodriguez, was one of two people killed Tuesday by shots fired during an attempted armored-car robbery in this capital.
Cabinet and Justice Minister Didio Arcia told the press that Rodriguez died caught in the crossfire of assailants and the crew of a Brinks truck near the Panama City building housing the National Lottery for Charity.
Rodriguez, who was deputy minister of labor before assuming the culture post in the current government, was apparently doing an errand near the lottery headquarters when he was caught in the midst of the shootout.
Also killed was a Brinks security guard, according to the minister, who added that several people were wounded – including some of the robbers – and were taken to hospital.
Panamanian President Martin Torrijos arrived at the scene of the incident to get the facts on the ground.
The head of state expressed his “consternation” at the death of Rodriguez, who was a prominent figure in Panama’s governing Democratic Revolutionary Party.
“An exemplary Panamanian, a great patriot and an excellent father,” Torrijos said of his late colleague.
“The grief we share with his family is the grief we share with Panamanian families every time an incident of violence fills us with mourning and suffering,” the president said.
The president added that his government has the unshakeable commitment never to be overcome by crime. EFE