Santo Domingo, Jun 6 (EFE).- The Dominican Republic’s environment and natural resources minister Orlando Jorge Mera was shot dead in his office on Monday by a close personal friend, the office of the president said.
A presidential spokesman identified the suspect as Miguel Cruz, and said he was “a personal friend of the deceased minister.”
“The person is being held in the custody of the national police and the Public Prosecutor’s Office. The motives are under investigation,” he added.
A politician who was in the lobby of 55-year-old Jorge Mera’s office waiting to be received by the minister reported that a man entered the office alone.
“Shots were heard in the minister’s office and everyone began to run away,” said Juan de Dios Liberata, councilor for the municipality of Sabaneta.
“After all the people went out to the green area of the ministry, several more shots were heard inside the ministry,” Liberata said.
The suspect then fled the ministry and took refuge in the Jesucristo Sumo y Eterno Sacerdote parish about 2.4 kilometers away.
Hours later he left the church in handcuffs, escorted by police officers.
The authorities have not yet explained how the suspect was able to flee the ministry, nor have they provided information about the circumstances in which he apparently turned himself in.
Jorge Mera’s family said in a statement that Cruz had been the minister’s friend since childhood.
“Our family forgives the person who did this. One of Orlando’s greatest legacies was to not hold grudges,” it said.
The son of former president Salvador Jorge Blanco, Jorge Mera was a personal friend of current president Luis Abinader, who expressed his “sincere condolences.”
The minister had been in office since the beginning of the Abinader government in August 2020.
A founding member of the Modern Revolutionary Party, Jorge Mera is survived by his wife, the Dominican ambassador to Brazil, Patricia Villegas, and two children, Patricia Victoria and lawmaker Orlando Jorge. EFE