QUITO — The prosecutor investigating a dramatic armed assault by gangsters last week on an Ecuadoran television station during a live broadcast was shot dead Wednesday, the attorney general said.
A prosecution source told AFP that Cesar Suarez had been in charge of finding the gang responsible for the terror-inspiring attack on state-owned TC Television in the port city of Guayaquil by hooded assailants armed with guns and explosives.
AFP obtained images of Suarez’s car, the window on the driver’s side riddled with bullet holes on a street in Guayaquil, the nerve center of Ecuador’s fast-escalating drug war.
“In the face of the murder of our colleague Cesar Suarez… I am going to be emphatic: organized crime groups, criminals, terrorists will not stop our commitment to Ecuadoran society,” Attorney General Diana Salazar said on X, formerly Twitter.
The murder comes amid a surge in violence in the once peaceful South American country, which has become a hub for the global export of cocaine from neighbors Colombia and Peru.
The government last week declared war on powerful drug gangs, who in turn threatened to execute civilians and security forces and carried out a wave of attacks that have left about 20 people dead.
Last Tuesday, attackers stormed the TV station, firing gunshots and forcing staff to lie on the ground as a woman could be heard pleading: “Don’t shoot, please don’t shoot.”
Police entered the studio after about 30 minutes of chaos, arresting 13 assailants, many of them teenagers.
The attack, seen live by many, caused widespread panic across Ecuador, with people leaving work early to seek shelter at home. — AFP