Photo: Erika Santelices/AFP/Getty Images
The Dominican Minister of the Environment, Orlando Jorge Mera, was shot dead this Monday in his office, the government reported. “The information we have handled so far indicates that in the morning hours the Minister of the Environment lost his life when he was attacked in his office with a firearm,” said the spokesman for the Presidency, Homero Figueroa.
“Miguel Cruz, the person identified as the shooter, was a personal friend of the deceased minister. The person responsible is in the custody of the national police and the Public Ministry,” he added. “The reasons for the incident are under investigation,” said Figueroa. Mera was 55 years old and a lawyer. He had taken over from him in August 2020, appointed by President Luis Abinader.
According to various sources cited by the AFP agency, the suspect broke into the meeting that Mera, son of former president Salvador Jorge Blanco (1982-1986), held weekly with his deputy ministers, and opened fire. Being a close friend of the victim, Cruz had no trouble getting past security and into the ministry’s headquarters in Santo Domingo.
Jorge Mera’s family said that the alleged shooter was “a childhood friend whom (the minister) received in his office.” Sources close to the case cited by the AFP agency assure that Cruz is a businessman allegedly affected by the minister’s policies, who applied a “zero tolerance” policy against those who affected the environment.
Sources from the Ministry of the Environment quoted by the newspaper Accent They assured that there were seven detonations and that the attacker tried to escape after shooting, but was captured by the security forces. The Police closed the building, evacuated the personnel working in the ministry’s offices and then entered an elite unit to control the situation.
“From the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources we are dismayed by the situation presented this Monday morning, so far we have no details,” the institution reported on Twitter. Jorge Mera was a leader of the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM), was married to the Dominican ambassador to Brazil, Patricia Villegas, and leaves behind two children, including deputy Orlando Jorge.
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