LIMA – The warden of the Miguel Castro Castro maximum-security prison was killed Saturday as he was leaving his home, officials at the National Penitentiary Institute, or INPE, said.
The incident occurred around 7 a.m. local time when Manuel Vasquez Coronado, who was leaving his home in a private vehicle, was hit by two bullets when attacked by an unknown number of assailants. There were no witnesses.
According to INPE director Miguel Rodriguez in a statement on Channel N television, Vasquez was taken to hospital in the Peruvian capital by his daughter, but was dead on arrival.
Rodriguez, who has been head of INPE for just one day, acknowledged that even though Vasquez had received death threats, he had no police protection.
Peruvian President Alan Garcia also expressed his regrets for Vasquez’s death, and did not hesitate to call it a reprisal for his work in imposing discipline on the Miguel Castro Castro prison, the jail that houses the country’s most dangerous convicts, who are doing time for common crimes, terrorism and drug trafficking.
The Peruvian president said that the warden, whom he described as a “martyr,” paid with his life the work he did in keeping cell phones, arms and drugs from entering the prison.
Vasquez had a 27-year-career in INPE, during which time he was also warden at the prisons of Cañete, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Lima, and of Sarita Colonia in the downtown area of the Peruvian capital.
The INPE director said that the slain official was one of the most respected members of the institution, and in the words of Rodriguez, was known as “the best warden...in the country.”
“We hope to work closely with the prosecutors’ investigation so that the perpetrators can be identified and to establish security measures for the rest of the personnel,” Rodriguez said.