DOMINICAN REPUBLIC | Environment minister shot and killed in his office

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC | Environment minister shot and killed in his office

Dominican Republic's Environment Minister Orlando Jorge-Mera was shot to death on Monday, inside his office by a close friend, the office of the president said in a statement.

The authorities said the attack took place on Monday night in Mera’s fourth-floor office in Santo Domingo. Fausto Miguel de Jesus Cruz de la Mota was later arrested after confessing the crime to a priest at a local church.

Local media reported at least seven shots were heard and police and emergency officials swarmed the building. Mourners soon gathered nearby.

The family of Jorge Mera, who is the son of former President Salvador Jorge Blanco, in a statement described the attacker as “a childhood friend whom [Jorge Mera] received in his office”.

After the event, several ambulances and police officers went to the Ministry building, from which all officials were evacuated.

"We are dismayed by the situation presented on Monday morning. So far we have no details of what happened," the Environment Ministry said from its Twitter account.

The 55-year-old Mera held his position since the beginning of President Luis Abinader's administration in August 2020. He had promised upon taking office to work for the “responsible” use of natural resources, to protect ecosystems and slash pollution. 

He recently told local media he had reported thousands of cases to the judiciary for violations.

A law graduate and leader of the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM), Jorge-Mera was married to the Dominican ambassador to Brazil and is survived by two children. One of them is lawmaker Orlando Jorge.

President Luis Abinader said he was “deeply saddened” and dismayed by the killing. “We express our deepest condolences,” he said.

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