TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Gunmen killed a son of former Honduras President Porfirio Lobo and three other young men early Thursday as they left a nightclub in the country’s capital, officials confirmed.
At least five heavily armed gunmen blocked the exit of a parking ramp and pulled Said Lobo Bonilla and three others, including a nephew of the former head of Honduras’ joint military chiefs, from two vehicles, according to security video of the incident widely circulated by local news media.
The attackers, wearing what appeared to be vests from a police anti-gang squad, lined the men up against a wall. The images then cut off.
As the attackers fled, it appeared one had been wounded and had to be loaded into their vehicle.
Lorena Cálix, spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, confirmed the death of Lobo Bonilla and retired Gen. Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, ex-head of the joint chiefs, told local news media his nephew Luis Zelaya was also slain.
National Police Director Gustavo Sánchez said authorities would not rest until they found those who carried out the killings and those who ordered them.
“We are investigating,” Sánchez said, adding that authorities are looking into “the clothing the criminals were wearing.”
Honduras’ vice minister of security, Julissa Villanueva, suggested the killings were an attempt by criminal groups to destabilize the security system., but gave no details.
Honduras President Xiomara Castro expressed solidarity with former President Lobo and his wife Rosa Bonilla, as well as the families of the other victims. “I condemn death squads that have operated for years in Honduras with impunity,” she wrote on Twitter. “We won’t rest until we dismantle them.”
Bonilla was convicted in March of embezzling more than $1 million in public funds while her husband was president. On Thursday, she requested and received special permission to leave prison so she could attend her son’s funeral.
Another of Porfirio Lobo’s sons, Fabio, was sentenced in the United States in 2017 to 24 years in prison on drug trafficking charges. Last year, the United States announced that the former president would no longer be allowed to enter the country because he had allegedly accepted bribes from drug traffickers in exchange for political favors.
Porfirio Lobo arrived at the scene Thursday, but police kept him at a distance. He told local press that there had been a third vehicle, but that the dead had come from just two of them and that another of his sons had escaped unharmed.
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