The coastal town of Villa Gesell in the Buenos Aires Province is in shock after 19-year-old Fernando Báez Sosa was beaten to death by a group of rugby players this weekend.
Eleven individuals have been arrested for their alleged role in the attack, which sparked outrage on social media after video footage of the attack spread online.
Báez Sosa was beaten to death by a group of rugby players on Saturday after a skirmish between two groups inside of the Le Brique nightclub. After being thrown out by security guards, the group of rugby players isolated the 19-year-old and knocked him to the ground, before kicking and beating him repeatedly.
When police that were patrolling the area came upon the scene, the aggressors tried to escape onto the highway. A total of 10 individuals – believed to be part of the same club side – were detained upon arrival at a two-story villa near Bosque Pinar. An 11th individual was detained shortly after in Zárate, a northeastern Buenos Aires provincial city where all of the rugby players hail from.
In an effort to save Báez Sosa’s life, officers attempted CPR at the scene and hailed an ambulance, which transported the young man to Hospital Arturo Illia. However, the gravity of the trauma suffered by the young man rendered the hospital’s task impossible.
Silvino Báez, Fernando’s father, said Sunday that the lawyer prosecuting the case told him that his son had been brutally beaten to death. In conversation with local news station C5N, the father told the network: “The prosecutor told me that my son was killed like an animal. I hope justice does its part.”
“We are broken. He was our only child, the future of the family and they tore it to pieces. We are very hurt, and I don’t know how I’m still standing. I know that my son is giving me strength," he continued.
Prosecutor Walter Mércuri, who will be in charge of the investigation, began interviewing suspects yesterday, according to reports. Infobae said Monday that the 10 who were detained initially – all of whom are between the ages 18 and 20 – had accused the 11th, identified as Pablo Ventura, 21, of being the perpetrator.
However, Ventura’s father publicly denied his son’s involvement in the murder. “Pablo never left Zárate, nor was he in Villa Gesell,” José María Ventura said in comments reported by local outlets. “On Friday night we ate at a well-known place on Zárate’s waterfront — me, my wife, and Pablo. It’s called La Querencia.”
According to Ventura’s father, they left the restaurant at around 11pm, and Pablo went to a friend’s apartment in the area afterward.
Villa Gessel’s Security Secretary Mauricio Andersen said on Radio 10: “We have 11 apprehended. This was not a confrontation; there was one group that attacked another passive one.”
The incident has inspired outrage in the community and on social media. With 11 individuals now in custody, the hashtags #RugbiersAsesinos and #JusticiaParaFernando have gone viral. Many squared the blame on the sport itself.
“I wish they could stand in my shoes, so they could see how I feel,” said the father of the slain boy. “My son was so young, he had a future ahead of him.”