Trujillo police killed a 14-year-old boy

Jose Luis Barrios Castro got shot in the abdomen area by state police on July 17. The victim, and a group of youngsters, was standing near a bodega in Buena Vista, Monte Carmelo.

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Relatives of the young victim demand an investigation into the incident where the teenager died of a gunshot wound to the stomach. Photo by Maria Gabriela Danieri.

By Maria Danieri.

A 14-years-old boy, named José Luis Barrios Castro, got shot on the afternoon of July 17, while he was gathering with a group of peers near a bodega in the town of Monte Carmelo, Trujillo state.

According to his family, Jose Luis was with other children in the El Anteojo sector at 6:30 pm. Everyone, including two kids with special conditions, ran when they saw the six uniformed police arrive on three motorcycles. One of the officials, without explanations, pulled out a gun and began to shoot.

The boy entered a nearby house and fell to the ground with a wound in his abdomen.

According to testimony, Barrios also was denied critical medical attention. Police claim been attacked, arguing that an officer got wounded in the back of one knee. Relatives also dispute the shootout version.

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The United Nations and local NGOs such as Provea and Proiuris have, for years, described a pattern to Maduro regime police work where, after a fatal shooting, confrontations staged to justify the deadly outcome and medical attention denied to wounded victims.

According to the relatives, who were outside the morgue of the Hospital Dr. Pedro Emilio Carrillo in Valera, on the morning of this Saturday, July 18, the young man got taken to the Cuban-run Integral Diagnostic Center (CDI) in Buena Vista.

Barrios’s relatives say that the boy was not there when they got to the CDI and accused police of driving around with the dying boy and arriving at the health-care center only after he died.

Alleged confrontation

The Trujillo police said it was a confrontation, and that one officer, identified as Luis Rivas, received a gunshot to the back of his left knee. However, the victim’s relative questioned this statement. They insist that police sowed the revolver as evidence to justify the arbitrary event which happened 48 hours before the celebration of Children’s Day in Venezuela.

Jose Luis was a first-year high school student, and his death caused a shock to the population. Family members said that, along with neighbors, they intended to protest, but the authorities sent reinforcements to prevent it, arguing the quarantine.

Request for an investigation

Family of the teenager murdered ask the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Investigation Police to initiate a transparent investigation of the incident, which they consider an injustice.

The police said they recovered at scene two 9-millimeter shells, three .38-caliber, and two unused .38 bullets. Nine-millimeter is the most popular handgun cartridge in the world. In Venezuela, police forces stopped used .38 decades ago.

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