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Presumed killer of two journalists in Dominican Republic dies in shootout

Police say suspect, who had been deported from the United States, committed suicide

Santo Domingo / Madrid

The gunman believed to have murdered two radio journalists in the Dominican Republic live on air on Tuesday has died under unclear circumstances. The State Attorney’s office says that José Rodríguez, aged 59, killed himself after he was surrounded by police on Wednesday in the town of San Pedro de Macorís, where the attack had taken place the previous day.

Luis Manuel Medina moments before he was shot dead. Facebook

But witnesses say the man was killed during a gunfight that lasted several minutes close to the city’s fire station.

The authorities claim that Rodríguez had hidden in his home and in a baseball academy in the town, some 70 kilometers east of the capital of Santo Domingo, after escaping from the offices of FM 103.5 on Tuesday morning where they say he shot dead broadcaster Luis Manuel Medina while he was broadcasting a live video feed via Facebook, along with the station’s manager, Leónidas Martínez, as well as seriously wounding Dayana García de Hernández, a secretary.

No information has been given as to how many bullet wounds Rodríguez had sustained. The police say that he had been deported from the United States.

Ten of the 17 journalists murdered in 2016 in Latin America worked for radio stations, said Reporters Without Borders on February 13, World Radio Day. In two of those cases, they were attacked live on air.

The Committee to Protect Journalists reports the killing of four journalists in the Dominican Republic between 1995 and 2015. At least 2,297 journalists and media staff have been murdered across the world between 1990 and 2015, according to a report by the International Federation of Journalists.

English version by Nick Lyne

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