Venezuela’s Public Prosecution Investigates Alleged “Looting” Deaths

The public legal body announced that it will prosecute a sergeant major in connection to one of the fatal shootings. 


Bogota, June 15th 2016 ( Venezuela’s Public Prosecution Office has confirmed that it will indict a sergeant major for his role in the fatal shooting of a 21 year-old man in Sucre state.  

Last week the public legal body announced that it had assigned attorneys to investigate the deaths of Luis Josmel Fuentes (21) and José Antonio Tovar (21), who were killed in separate incidents last Thursday and Friday. 

According to the public prosecution, Tovar died in hospital a day after receiving a fatal gunshot wound in the leg when security forces were called to pacify a protest in Cerezal in the state of Sucre on Friday. 

Sergeant Major Carlos Eduardo Moreno Licet has since been arrested and will be charged with the young man’s murder, confirmed the public legal body.  

On his Twitter account, Venezuela’s top ombudsman, Tarek William Saab, categorically rejected the use of arms to control public protests, promising that justice would be served. 

“They are prohibited by the constitution,” he said.

This past Thursday, Luis Josmel Fuentes was also shot several times during an “irregular situation” that broke out in Petare, Miranda state, later dying from his injuries in a nearby hospital. 

District attorney Jorge Alejandro Rebolledo has been assigned to his case.  

The international press has widely reported that the deaths took place in looting incidents, while news agency Reuters states that both men were killed in “chaotic protests and melees outside shops”.  

For its part, national government spokespeople have alleged that opposition activists are deliberately acting as agitators in supermarket queues with the intention of provoking riots. 

On Wednesday, Sucre Governor Luis Acuña revealed that 400 people had been arrested in connection to the mass looting of commercial establishments, which he said had been organised by criminal gangs.  

In other announcements, the public prosecution also confirmed that it would investigate the fatal shooting of a four year-old girl outside a government-subsidised MERCAL supermarket in Miranda state on Monday morning.  

The toddler, Britani Alejandra Larga, was reportedly shot after two armed men on a motorbike opened fire on people queuing to buy food at the establishment.  

Five other people were wounded in the aggression, including a twelve year old boy. 

Police have speculated that the shooting could be related to gang rivalries.  

Last week a police officer was also indicted by the public prosecution for the murder of a 42 year-old woman during a protest in Tachira.