At Least 6 Inmates Gunned Down in Venezuela Jail

CARACAS – At least six inmates died and another seven were wounded in a shooting incident at the Venezuela General Penitentiary, 143 kilometers (89 miles) south of Caracas, local media said Saturday.

According to the media, the incident took place Friday, but neither the Interior Ministry nor the Attorney General’s Office made any comment on it until Saturday.

Inmates at the penitentiary phoned several media outlets to report the shootout that was occurring and in which six people died, though some sources say there were seven.

Families of the inmates confirmed the incident and blamed the National Guard for what happened.

According to their statements, the shots followed the tear gas and buckshot used to dislodge members of the prisoners’ families who refused to leave the penitentiary in protest against the delay in bringing trials to court that were already long overdue.

According to those accounts, the shooting began at 1:00 p.m. local time Friday and lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes.

The penitentiary is located in the city of San Juan de los Morros, capital of the central state of Guarico.

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