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Dominican Republic's Minister of Environment shot to death

Orlando Jorge Mera was murdered on Monday morning in his office

June 6, 2022 3:59pm

Updated: June 6, 2022 9:45pm

The Dominican Republic's Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources, Orlando Jorge Mera, was assassinated on Monday after being shot at in his office in Santo Domingo, confirmed presidential spokesman Homero Figueroa. 

"On behalf of the government and President Luis Abinader, we express our deepest condolences to the Mera Villegas family on the death of Environment Minister Orlando Jorge Mera," Figueroa said in a statement shared on Twitter two hours after the first reports of the murder emerged.

He added that the attacker was identified as Miguel Cruz, "a personal friend of the late minister," who is now in the custody of the police and the Public Prosecutor's Office.

Environment ministry officials interviewed by local media claimed to have heard between four and seven shots after the suspect entered the minister's office, according to El País.

"Everyone started running," said Juan de Dios Liberada, a councilman from the municipality of Sabaneta, who was in the anteroom of the minister's office waiting to meet with him.

The workers were evacuated, and ambulances, agents from the Homicide Department of the National Police, and special operations arrived at the scene. 

"We have lost a sensitive citizen and committed public servant, as well as an exemplary father, son, and brother," the Ministry of Environment posted on its Twitter account, asking for respect for the family's privacy.

Orlando Jorge Mera was appointed Minister of Environment in August 2020 by President Luis Abinader. He promised to work to maintain proper environmental management and for compliance with the Constitution and laws, adhering to transparency and public ethics.

"In our administration, we will work for the responsible use of natural resources, the protection and conservation of ecosystems, the reduction of pollution and the effective management of solid waste," said Mera at the time, according to Listín Diario.

Fast-File Reporter

Marielbis Rojas

Marielbis Rojas is a Venezuelan journalist and communications professional with a degree in Social Communication from UCAB. She is a news reporter for ADN America.