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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Despite latest massacre, homicides still fewer than in past years, governor says

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Tuesday that despite a drive-by shooting in Toa Baja on Monday night that claimed five lives, statistics show fewer homicides so far this year than in past years.

“If it were not for that massacre, we would be exactly at the level of last year, when there was a 20 percent reduction in the number of murders and at the end of last year it was 30 percent less than at the [end of 2020],” the governor said in response to questions from the press. “The number of murders is still lower than, for example, 2022 or 2021, but obviously that massacre is nefarious. Again, it reflects the drug trafficking problem we face. I know that the police are investigating the matter.”

The multiple slaying took place at around 10 p.m. on Monday in front of a business in the Campanilla neighborhood of Toa Baja, where five people lost their lives after sustaining several gunshot wounds.

According to preliminary information, occupants traveling in a moving vehicle opened fire in front of the business. As a result, one person died at the scene and four injured people later died in different hospitals. At least three others were reported to have been hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

The business belongs to former Cataño mayor Félix “el Cano” Delgado Montalvo, who pleaded guilty to bribery charges in late 2021 in a case involving municipal contracts.

Regarding the fact that the business where the shootings took place is owned by the former mayor, the governor said that “this is like any other business.”

“The detail of whether the owner of the business is the former mayor, if he was present, well, that detail may not have any relevance or pertinence whatsoever to the crimes committed here,” Pierliusi said. “Now, I’m not ruling anything out. I mean, it’s all under investigation and we’ll know by-and-by what the outcome of that investigation is. The important thing is to solve the crime, find those who were the gunmen and get them out of the free community. And as for the issue of the former mayor, well, there are no exceptions here and the police are going to be doing their job. It doesn’t matter who it is, if it’s a former mayor or whoever it is, so that’s what I can say.”

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