Sunday, August 18, 2019
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ARGENTINA | 24-05-2019 10:25

Seven police officers arrested in wake of car-chase shooting fatalities

The incident happened Monday when a car full of young people failed to stop on police orders in the small rural town of San Miguel del Monte, about an hour's drive south of the capital. Four people – the driver, 22, a 14-year-old youth and two girls aged 13 and 14 – were killed.

Seven policemen have been arrested for the death of four youths on Monday during a fatal car chase in which shots were fired, officials in Buenos Aires Province announced yesterday.

The arrests were ordered by prosecutors, who ordered a number of detentions. A police captain, three officers, a deputy inspector and two lower-level officers were taken into custody, said provincial Prosecutor General Julio Conte Grand, speaking to the TN news channel.

The event occurred on Monday morning in San Miguel del Monte, a small rural town of 20,000 inhabitants located in the province of Buenos Aires, 110 km south of the Argentine capital.

According to unconfirmed reports, the officers are believed to have attempted to put off investigators, coordinating testimony and altering evidence at the scene.

Earlier that day, BA Province Security Minister Cristian Ritondo had announced at a press conference that 12 police officers had been suspended from their posts pending investigation, of which seven are those who were later arrested.

"From those who have been talking with prosecutor, from the testimonies of the neighbours, what has been spoken about with the mayor, we have to think that there were shots [fired] and that the procedures the police carried out were very badly done," Cristian Ritondo, security secretary for Buenos Aires Province, told a press conference after the 12, including senior officers, were suspended from duty.

"Governor Vidal spoke with the mayor [of San Miguel del Monte] and with us and it became clear that this can not remain unpunished," Ritondo added.

According to the preliminary investigation, a car full of young people failed to stop on or ignored police orders in the small rural town of San Miguel del Monte, about an hour's drive south of the capital.

Police then pursued the car, driven by the eldest of its five occupants, and then fired several shots into it from close range, after which it crashed violently into a parked truck on the side of the road. Only one person survived the crash, a 13-year-old girl who remains hospitalised in a serious condition.

"It was a massacre, those children, how were they going to pursue them with gunshots?" Susana, mother of Gonzalo Domínguez, 14, one of the fatal victims, was asked by the press.

The rest of the deceased are the driver of 22 years, and two other adolescents, a male of 13 years and a girl of 14. 

"They were happy in that car, all friends," said Susana, referring to a video that the young people filmed and uploaded to social networks shortly before the tragedy.

Another video captured by the local security cameras showed the moment of the persecution when from the patrol a policeman takes half a body out the window and points an object at the young people's car a few meters away. Seconds later the impact ensues. 

The police denied firing and said that the object was a flashlight to illuminate the patent plate, but the investigation points against them.

- TIMES/AFP/PERFIL

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