A dozen police officers have been suspended pending a probe into the deaths of four young people during a chase in which shots were fired into their car, local officials said Thursday.
""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.
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.
Police pursued the car and then fired several shots into it from close range, after which it crashed into a parked truck.
"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.
he chase was captured on security cameras, which showed an officer leaning out the window of the patrol car and pointing into the youths' vehicle, just before the crash.
Officers reportedly said "loud music" was playing, meaning their warnings were not heard.
Four people – driver Aníbal Suárez, 22, Gonzalo Domínguez, 14, and two girls, Danilo Sansone, aged 13, and Camila López, also 13 – were killed. The only survivor, a 14-year-old girl named Rocío, is in serious condition in hospital.
"In principle, the police officers fired shots," prosecutor Hector Vogliolo said. "A bullet was found in the body of one of the girls."
"Not respecting a summons to stop in no way justifies the use of weapons," the prosecutor said.
Yesterday, a local person from the town published a video showing images of immediate aftermath of the crash. The person filming is heard asking someone if they can also hear gunshots. Then, two men are pictured approaching the car that had just crashed.
The mother of one of the victims, 14-year-old Gonzalo Domínguez, told local media: "It was a massacre. Those children, how could they chase them by shooting at them?"
"They were happy in that car, all friends," said Susan Domínguez, adding that the group of friends had posted a video on social media shortly before the deadly incident.