SANTIAGO – One policeman was fatally shot and three others wounded in separate incidents here during protests marking Chile’s Day of the Young Combatant, authorities said Monday.
Cpl. Alejandro Galvez Galvez, 30, was shot around midnight Sunday in a confrontation in Pedro Aguirre Cerda, a working-class suburb on the outskirts of Santiago.
He died minutes later at a nearby clinic, the head of Chile’s Carabineros militarized national police, Gen. Gustavo Gonzalez Jure, told reporters.
“The shot was quite accurate, very close to the throat, and pierced only the upper fringe of the bulletproof vest, not the Kevlar,” the general said.
Galvez was shot when he and several comrades got out of their vehicle in search of shelter after the vehicle was struck by at least five bullets, Gonzalez said.
The Carabineros have found nothing to indicate that the attack was a premeditated ambush, though the investigation is in the early stages, Gonzalez said.
Whoever fired the fatal shot will be charged with murder of a police officer in the line of duty, Interior Undersecretary Mahmud Aleuy said.
“We expect the investigation by the prosecutors will allow us to identify who has done this deed, so we can ask for 20 to 40 years in prison,” he said.
The Day of the Young Combatant commemorates the deaths of brothers Rafael and Eduardo Vergara Toledo, leftist militants killed by the security forces on March 29, 1985, in the Santiago neighborhood of Villa Francia during a protest against Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s 1973-1990 military dictatorship.
Two Carabineros were wounded by gunfire Sunday night in Villa Francia, while a third was shot in another part of the capital, but their injuries are not life-threatening, according to authorities.
Protesters also set up barricades and clashed with police in other zones of greater Santiago.
Anarchists and other radicals have taken to observing the Day of the Young Combatant with acts of violence and vandalism.