SAN SALVADOR – A man and his two daughters were murdered in a village near San Salvador, but the motive for the killings has not been determined and no suspects have been arrested, the Salvadoran press reported Sunday.
Lorenzo Perez, 52, and his daughters, Guadalupe, 15, and Maritza Perez Ramirez, 21, were killed Saturday afternoon, the Diario de Hoy newspaper said.
The three were killed in El Divisadero, a village located about 18 kilometers (some 11 miles) south of San Salvador, by at least five men who burst into the family’s dwelling.
Two of the assailants were armed with machetes and the others had firearms, police said.
Perez tried to defend himself with a machete and wounded one of the assailants in the chest, police said.
The eldest daughter, Maritza, was found alive but died while being transported to a hospital, the La Prensa Grafica newspaper reported.
This is the eighth massacre this year in El Salvador, the newspaper said.
Some media outlets reported that gangs operate in the area around El Divisadero.
El Salvador’s two largest violent youth gangs, known as “maras,” are Mara 18 and Mara Salvatrucha.
Mara Salvatrucha is a criminal organization that evolved on the streets of Los Angeles during the 1980s, with most of its members young Salvadorans whose parents fled their nation’s erstwhile civil war for the United States.
Because many of the gang members were born in El Salvador, they were subject to deportation when rounded up during immigration crackdowns in California in the 1990s.
Sent “home” to a land they barely knew, they formed gangs that spread throughout El Salvador and to neighboring countries in Central America, where membership is now counted in the tens, or even hundreds of thousands, and gang members are engaged in murder, drug dealing, kidnapping and people smuggling.
In addition to those activities, gang members are blamed throughout Central America for a spike in rapes and robberies, and for running protection rackets to extort “taxes” from bus companies and owners of small businesses.
Police estimate that some 10,000 gang members, most of them affiliated either with Mara 18 or Mara Salvatrucha operate in El Salvador.
President Mauricio Funes has implemented a security policy that calls for deploying army troops in areas plagued by violence, which claims an average of 13 lives per day in the Central American country.