SAN JUAN – An 11-year-old boy died of bullet wounds from a shooting in the northern coastal city of Canovanas, Puerto Rican authorities said.
Police also reported that the slain boy’s father, 27-year-old Raymond Machiote Hiraldo, and two other minors ages 5 and 17 were wounded in the incident.
The shooting occurred in the wee hours as the victim’s family was returning home to Canovanas.
Police authorities collected shell casings from AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles from the site of the shooting.
Primera Hora newspaper said that, according to the testimony of neighbors, the gunmen could have been after Gabriel Sanchez Lopez, father of the wounded 5-year-old, who has a criminal record.
The head of Centro Medico hospital, Dr. Ernesto Torres, said the 5-year-old is recovering well after an emergency operation, and that the teenager wounded in the shooting is in stable condition.
Police have not yet commented on the motive of the crime, and their report merely says that several individuals opened fire on the vehicle of the victim’s father.
The boy’s death came after a bloody weekend when 25 people were killed, without counting another three deaths early Monday.
The island’s deputy police superintendent, Col. Leovigildo Vazquez, acknowledged that the security situation is desperate.
Police said that so far this year there have been 555 violent deaths, 97 more than in the same period last year.
Puerto Rican officials blame an ongoing turf war among drug dealers for most of the average of 10 homicides reported every weekend.
Authorities have boosted the number of police on the street and even deployed the National Guard, but none of the additional security measures has done anything to diminish the violence. EFE