A fugitive Venezuelan police officer who launched an attack on government buildings last year is among the dead in a shootout between his group and security forces. Venezuelan officials confirmed the news nearly a day after the shootout.
Oscar Perez had been on the run since he launched an attack from a helicopter on government buildings last year. Authorities had been searching for him and his group since the attack and had reportedly placed wanted posters in airports and other areas.
Interior Minister Ernesto Reverol confirmed the news, adding that eight others suffered serious injuries in the shootout. Perez had appeared in several videos since the attack on government buildings.
On Monday, Venezuelan security forces surrounded the area and clashed with his group. Perez posted several videos during the shootout and said in one of them that they wished to surrender but that authorities were focused on killing them.
Perez, who was a police officer and actor, made a brief appearance at an opposition vigil last year and released several videos where he spoke against the government. The attack in June left many questions among the population, with some believing this was yet another distraction by the government.
His death has also led to calls from the opposition and human rights groups for an investigation. In the videos, Perez says they want to surrender. Other videos taken from social media appear to show security forces using grenade launchers during the confrontation. A woman who identified herself as Perez’s mother said her son wanted to surrender.
Seven people were killed during the shootout, including two police officers. The Interior Minister said the group opened fire first and they responded. Six others were arrested for being part of the group and financing it. In the search, authorities also found military uniforms, weapons and a pickup truck.
The shootout happened yesterday but his death was only confirmed a few hours ago. The opposition is now calling for an investigation after the videos. Perez was reportedly a member of the police for 15 years and had also appeared in an action movie.
President Nicolas Maduro said the group was planning a car bomb attack on an embassy but other reports say the government is using this to justify its actions yesterday. Residents reportedly blocked the area during the operation to protest against the government and food shortages, which continue to get worse.