• The San Juan Daily Star

Police occupy Caguas neighborhood where woman, 73, was slain, officer was wounded

Puerto Rico Police Bureau Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa

By John McPhaul

The commissioner of the Puerto Rico Police Bureau, Antonio López Figueroa, said Tuesday that police officers occupied the Morales neighborhood of Caguas indefinitely until those responsible for murdering a 73-year-old retired teacher and those who shot a police officer in the middle of a raid in the morning in that sector are apprehended.

“We are not leaving the Morales neighborhood until the Margarita case is cleared up and the person who shot my policeman turns himself in,” Police Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa said at a press conference.

“In the Caguas case that dismays us all, number one, a 73-year-old retired educator, who was with her granddaughter, walking on public roads and these unscrupulous people, in a fight for turf, brought about her death,” López Figueroa said. “The police were immediately activated, there was a patrol near the scene and three individuals directly related to these events were arrested. Last night, [criminal charges] were filed against them and today they are in the Bayamón Regional Prison.”

“However, we are missing several individuals from that night who come from the Morales neighborhood, which we are going to occupy indefinitely,” the police chief added. “This morning we were going to conduct a raid and there they fired at my police officers and one of them was wounded in the arm by a gunshot; we are not going to allow that anywhere in Puerto Rico and we are going to fully clear the case of Margarita Rodríguez Morales and it will not go unpunished.”

Regarding a slaying in Canóvanas, López Figueroa said the case is related to drug trafficking.

“Starting with the Canóvanas case, it is unfortunate that a [young] woman has died as a result of gunshots,” he said. “That case is completely linked to drug trafficking.”

At a press conference Tuesday, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia called for education and the hiring of more workers by the Family Department as solutions so that more young people rule out the underworld for their future.

“The long-term solution, from my point of view, has to do with the root of the crime,” he said. “In other words, why do they go astray from a very young age? Why do they fall into this, into criminal organizations? And that is terrible. And that is what we are fighting by improving the public education system, by fighting poverty because this stems from a terrible quality of life that many Puerto Ricans have; they do not have role models, clearly [they are from] dysfunctional homes. It is a social problem that we face.”

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