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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Governor ‘repulsed’ by double-homicide outside Caguas court

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Wednesday that he was “repulsed” by the double-homicide that occurred Tuesday afternoon on the grounds of the Caguas Court while television news crews were there reporting on a court case.

According to the Justice Department, the alleged shooter, Roy George Karakozian, 34, who is of Lebanese origin, faced charges in the Caguas court of first-degree murder, attempted murder and violations of the weapons law.

“What happened yesterday is a horror, because I saw that live on television; that is, a live shooting on television,” the governor said in response to questions from the press. “That has to impact anyone. I was terribly shocked, more so because of the information we have on a dispute between neighbors, but imagine, it can never happen. That’s the kind of violence that’s totally out of place …”

“I mean, enough of that. For me, I am repulsed by this situation,” he added. “I know that the police are going to investigate this thoroughly and whoever caused these two deaths is going to have to answer to the final consequences. But again, I repeat: enough of the violence, whatever it may be. And this one we are talking about is the worst when it comes to the life of a human being, that is the extreme. And that it was because of a dispute like that is inconceivable, a barbarity. That is, the only time such an extreme thing can be justified is in self-defense, but no, never. Because for a matter of property, how far are we going to go?”

According to the police, siblings Ángel and Rosa Judith Calderón Pérez, 44 and 45 years old, respectively, were shot dead by Karakozian, a resident of Puerto Rico, who was arrested at the scene.

The victims’ sister, Ruth Calderón, who was interviewed by reporters at the scene shortly after the shooting, said the motive for the killings was a dispute the family had with Karakozian over a piece of property. She said the dispute had been going on for two years.

According to the authorities, Ángel Calderón Pérez was at the court after being summoned to file a complaint against Karakozian’s wife, Luz Pérez Martínez, for violating a protection order issued by the court on the grounds of stalking.

“The parties had filed complaints with each other and the court had issued protection orders,” Caguas District Attorney Arlene Gardón Rivera said. “Yesterday, agent Lisandra Aponte Rodríguez arrived at the Prosecutor’s Office to consult if it was appropriate to formulate charges against Luz Pérez Martínez for the violation of a protection order. It was at that moment that Karakozian shot the plaintiff. So the formulation of charges against the woman had to be postponed until today.”

According to press reports, Karakozian was disarmed by two police officers, Sgt. Lorna Padilla Cartagena and officer María Padilla Conde, who arrested the shooter at the scene.

Police Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa said the heroic actions of both officers could have prevented the deaths of more people.

Justice Secretary Domingo Emanuelli Hernández defended his department from complaints about the slowness of the process.

“According to the information we have evaluated, the [Justice Department] has been extremely diligent in investigating and filing charges in those cases in which there are elements of crime and the required evidence. The presentation of charges has been made less than 24 hours after receiving the evidence from the Police Bureau. No unnecessary delay can be attributed to the Department of Justice,” Emanuelli said. “As for proceedings of a civil nature, we cannot issue statements because those cases are not handled by prosecutors of the Department of Justice.”

The Justice secretary acknowledged the work of police officers and sheriffs who intervened to prevent Karakozian from continuing to shoot in court.

“Thanks to their immediate intervention, they avoided a major tragedy in a crowded place where children and members of the press were present,” Emanuelli said. “They were extremely brave and demonstrated their ability and vocation. Our solidarity with the relatives of the victims. No dispute is a reason to end someone else’s life.”

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