At least 17 people were killed in Caracas, Venezuela early Saturday after a canister of tear-gas was set off during a fight at a graduation party. According to Nestor Reverol, Venezuela’s interior minister, seven people have been arrested over the incident which took place in the early hours of the morning.
Many of the victims were trampled when over 500 young Venezuelans tried to flee the Los Cotorros nightclub after the explosion in El Paraiso sector of the city. Eight of them were under the age of 18.
At least five more, including three minors, are in a critical state at a hospital.
Reverol told Venezuelan state TV channel VTV that during the pre-graduation party of several high schools a fight broke out and someone activated the tear-gas canister. He also confirmed seven people had been arrested, including an underage boy who is suspected of setting off the cartridge and the nightclub’s manager for failing to prevent the entry of weapons into the nightclub.
The interior ministry ordered the nightclub to be shut down and is coordinating with the public ministry to carry out the necessary investigations.
“The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, led by President Nicolas Maduro, deplores this regrettable incident and from our government we extend words of condolence for the families of the victims, and also the respective guidelines for parents and representatives to establish control measures on minors, as established by Venezuelan laws,” Reverol said.