GUATEMALA CITY – Amid tears and applause, a hospital in Guatemala’s capital bid farewell Thursday to one of seven people killed the day before at that medical facility by gang members.
In a private religious ceremony inside the Roosevelt Hospital, family members, friends and co-workers paid their final respects to Margarito Sucuc, who had been employed as a security guard for 16 years.
His three minor children and his wife walked alongside the coffin, which was adorned with flowers and serenaded with songs and applause while being taken around the hospital and then loaded into a funeral hearse.
Sucuc, a native of the central Guatemalan town of Comalapa, was a person who loved his work and enjoyed helping others, according to a female co-worker, who was carrying a large bouquet of flowers and repeatedly demanded that the perpetrators of the attack be brought to justice.
Fear and incredulity were apparent among several groups of people inside the hospital, which remained closed on Thursday.
Another co-worker, Humberto Hernandez, said he and Sucuc had been like brothers and demanded that authorities provide greater security to avoid other similar attacks in the future.
On Wednesday, five gang members, one of them a minor, burst into the hospital with guns blazing to free an inmate who had been brought there for a medical exam and is now being sought by the authorities.
Hospital Director Carlos Soto said Thursday the medical facility would not open again until authorities provide security both inside and outside the establishment, adding that no more inmates would be treated there unless their lives are truly at risk.
The bodies of the other six victims of Wednesday’s attack, including two children and two prison guards who were escorting the inmate, have already been delivered to their families.
Authorities are offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the capture of the inmate, Anderson Daniel Cabrera, a 29-year-old member of the Mara Salvatrucha street gang who had been held at the Fraijanes II prison since December 2013 for crimes including murder and criminal conspiracy.