Saturday, March 17, 2012

Diplomat's Daughter Shot Dead In Venezuela

The 19-year-old daughter of a Chilean diplomat in Venezuela has been killed by police at an unmarked road checkpoint.  Chilean Consul Fernando Berendique, speaking from the western city of Maracaibo, said his daughter Karen was shot early Saturday while riding with her brother and another young man to see some friends.

The trio ignored a command to stop at the checkpoint, fearing the officers might be robbers. Venezuelans have long been distrustful of the police--  violent crime is widespread in Venezuela,  which has one of the highest murder rates in Latin America.  Government officials have estimated that police are complicit in 20 percent of all kidnappings and murders.

The Prosecutor General's Office says in a statement that eleven police officers are under investigation for their roles in the death.  According to that statement, the victim after suffering three bullet wounds, including one to the head.  Judicial police chief Jose Humberto Ramirez condemns the shooting and what he calls "bad police practices."

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