LIMA : Peru’s former president Alan Garcia died in hospital on Wednesday after shooting himself in the head at his home as police were about to arrest him in a sprawling corruption case. He was 69.
The health ministry said Garcia died at 10AM of “a massive cerebral haemorrhage from a gunshot wound and cardiorespiratory arrest.”
Garcia was resuscitated three times after suffering heart attacks while undergoing emergency surgery, before finally succumbing, Peru’s Health Minister Zulema Tomas said.
The Casimiro Ulloa Emergency Hospital in Lima earlier confirmed he had suffered “a bullet wound to his head.”
“This morning there was a regrettable accident: the president took the decision to shoot himself,” Erasmo Reyna, Garcia’s lawyer, told reporters outside the hospital after Garcia was admitted.
“Alan Garcia has died, long live Apra,” said Omar Quesada, the general secretary of Garcia’s American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA) party.
The attempted arrest unfolded at 6:30AM at Garcia’s home in Lima’s upmarket Miraflores neighbourhood. Police were acting on an arrest warrant for money laundering that would have allowed Garcia to be held for 10 days, giving authorities time to gather evidence and prevent him from fleeing, the prosecutor’s office said.
Ricardo Pinedo, Garcia’s secretary, said the former president had four or five weapons in his home that were gifts from the armed forces. Police said he used one of those to shoot himself.
Interior Minister Carlos Moran said police “heard a gunshot a few minutes” after entering Garcia’s house before finding him “sitting down with a head wound.”
Peru’s President Martin Vizcarra expressed his sympathy on his Twitter account. “Dismayed by the death of ex-president Alan Garcia. I send my condolences to his family and loved ones,” Vizcarra wrote in a tweet.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and Bolivia’s Evo Morales added their own condolences, while Colombian leader Ivan Duque said “with sadness we raise prayers” for Garcia’s family, adding: “Rest in peace.”- AFP