Dominican Republic environment minister shot dead in his office

Dominican Republic’s minister of the environment and natural resources has been shot and killed in his officeby a close friend, the office of the president said in a statement on Monday.

Authorities said Orlando Jorge Mera was shot by Miguel Cruz, who has been detained. No further details were immediately available.

Employees at the ministry of environment and natural resources told journalists that they heard at least seven shots from within the building.

“We express our deepest condolences,” the office of President Luis Abinader said.

Jorge comes from a powerful political family. He is the son of the former Dominican president Salvador Jorge Blanco and his sister is a vice-minister in Abinader’s administration. Jorge’s son is a lawmaker for the Modern Revolutionary party, of which he is a founding member.

The family issued a statement saying that Cruz had been Jorge’s friend since childhood, and that Jorge was shot multiple times.

“Our family forgives the person who did this. One of Orlando’s greatest legacies was to not hold grudges,“ 它说.

Police and emergency officials swarmed the office of environment and natural resources ministry in the capital of Santo Domingo and barred entry to it as mourners gathered nearby. Mera’s office is located on the fourth floor of a building that also houses the ministry of tourism.

“We are worried by the situation,” Mera’s ministry said in a brief statement.

Bartolomé Pujals, executive director of the government’s cabinet of innovation, wrote that he lamented the killing.

“His death is a tragedy,“ 他说. “We Dominicans have to come together to achieve a pact for peace and peaceful coexistence. No more violence.”

Mera also was an attorney and a founding member of the Modern Revolutionary party. He was appointed minister of the environment and natural resources in August 2020.