A shocking killing is being reported out of Ecuador.
Fernando Villavicencio, who was a member of the country’s national assembly, was running for president in the election that’s supposed to take place on August 20. He was leaving a campaign event in Quito and trying to get into his car when suddenly shots rang out.
Warning: You can’t see the shooting, but you can hear the shots and people trying to scramble for cover.
BREAKING: Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate Fernando Villavicencio assassinated at campaign event – Local media
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) August 10, 2023
Warning: graphic images.
The security had walked him to the car, and he was in the car, with the security in what looked like bulletproof vests at the door, so I’m not sure how a guy got through there or where he was. But it didn’t sound good.
His campaign told the local media that he was “about to get into the car” when a man suddenly shot him in the head.
Villavicencio had been a journalist and had been calling out corruption for years.
— Denis Rogatyuk (@DenisRogatyuk) August 10, 2023
The politician, 59, was the candidate for the Build Ecuador Movement. He was one of eight presidential candidates for the late August election.
He was one of the most critical voices against corruption, especially during the government of former President Rafael Correa from 2007 to 2017. He filed many judicial complaints against high-ranking members of the Correa government.
Early accounts show that several others were injured in the attack, though authorities did not confirm how many.
The current president, Guillermo Lasso, said he was “outraged and shocked.” He promised that “this crime will not go unpunished.”
He blamed organized crime and said, “The full weight of the law is going to fall on them.”
It looks like Villavicencio had enemies in the government as well as criminals.
Last week, Mr Villavicencio, a former journalist, said he and his team had been threatened by the leader of a gang linked to drug trafficking.
His killing follows that of Agustín Intriago, mayor of the city of Manta, in July and Omar Menéndez, candidate for mayor in the city of Puerto López, in February.
Patricio Zuquilanda, Villavicencio’s campaign adviser, told the Associated Press that Villavicencio had received death threats before the shooting, which he had reported to authorities.
He called on international authorities to take action against the violence, attributing it to rising violence and drug trafficking.
“The Ecuadorian people are crying and Ecuador is mortally wounded,” he said. “Politics cannot lead to the death of any member of society.”
This is a developing story, and we’ll keep you updated as we find out more.