A Swedish tourist suffered
the amputation of his right
leg on Thursday, after being
shot in downtown Buenos Aires last weekend in the course
of a robbery.
Christoffer Persson, 36, was
standing at the corner of Tacuarí and Venezuela streets in
Monserrat (only a couple of
blocks away from Casa Sueca
housing the Swedish Club, various Swedish companies and,
until very recently, the Swedish
Embassy, now in Puerto Madero) when he pulled out his
smartphone to consult Google
Maps and find his bearings.
According to his girlfriend,
Sicilian-born journalist Maria
Izzo, the phone drew the attention of a criminal cruising past
in a car. The attacker sprang
out and ordered Perssson, a
computer systems engineer, to
hand over his mobile phone at
gunpoint but the tourist resisted, whereupon he was
promptly kneecapped by the
assailant, who later escaped in
The attacker remained at
large at press time despite having his licence plate recorded
by a security camera.
Izzo described the mugger as
in his early 20s, apparently under the influence of drugs and
also inexperienced with firearms, believing the bullet
costing Persson his leg to be the
result of a random shot rather
than a deliberate maiming.
She praised the initiative of
two passing cyclists who improvised a tourniquet from the
victim’s clothing to stop the
bleeding immediately. Neighbouring residents also responded to help.
The incident received practically no media attention until
Thursday’s amputation, but
then it became the highestprofile attack on a foreign visitor since last February when
tourist Francis Joseph Wolek
from the United States was
stabbed in La Boca.
That criminal was promptly
gunned down in unclear circumstances by off-duty Buenos Aires provincial policeman
Luis Chocobar, who was soon
afterwards hosted by a congratulatory President Mauricio
Macri in the Casa Rosada amid
controversy over whether
Chocobar was a police hero or
a ‘trigger-happy’ cop.
Ironically enough, Wolek
was attended in the same hospital (Argerich) by the same
doctor who ended up removing Persson’s leg this week –
Yamil Ponce. Between the
weekend and Thursday, the
wounded man underwent four
knee operations in an attempt
to save the limb, doctors said,
including a six-hour bypass
with another of his veins, but
the damage to vital arteries
was too severe and his life was
Sedated and under observation for the following 24 hours
to avoid any risk of infection
after the amputation, Persson
will remain in hospital for at
least 10 days. His parents arrived yesterday from Sweden.
Born on Christmas Eve,
1971, in southern Sweden,
Persson had planned to celebrate both his birthday and
Christmas here around the
country, with scheduled trips
to locations including Bariloche and Colonia (Uruguay).