Dominican Republic Cabinet Minister Killed In Office By Close Friend

Authorities said Orlando Jorge Mera was shot by Miguel Cruz, who has been detained.
Dominican Secretary for Commerce and Industry Sonia Guzman, right, talks to the media accompanied by Orlando Jorge Mera, at the presidential palace in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, March 16, 2004. Mera, the Dominican Republic's minister of the environment and natural resources, was shot and killed in his office on Monday, June 6, 2022, according to officials. (AP Photo/Walter Astrada, File)
Dominican Secretary for Commerce and Industry Sonia Guzman, right, talks to the media accompanied by Orlando Jorge Mera, at the presidential palace in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, March 16, 2004. Mera, the Dominican Republic's minister of the environment and natural resources, was shot and killed in his office on Monday, June 6, 2022, according to officials. (AP Photo/Walter Astrada, File)
Walter Astrada via AP

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — The Dominican Republic’s minister of the environment and natural resources was shot and killed in his office on Monday by a close friend, the office of the president said in a statement.

Authorities said Orlando Jorge Mera was shot by Miguel Cruz, who has been detained. No further details were immediately available, and it wasn’t immediately clear if Cruz had an attorney.

“We express our deepest condolences,” the office of President Luis Abinader said.

Police and emergency officials swarmed the office of Environment and Natural Resources Minisatry in the capital of Santo Domingo and barred entry to it as mourners gathered nearby. Mera’s office is located on the fourth floor of a building that also houses the Ministry of Tourism.

“We are troubled by the situation,” Mera’s ministry said in a brief statement.

Bartolomé Pujals, executive director of the government’s Cabinet of Innovation, wrote that he lamented the killing.

“His death is a tragedy,” he said. “We Dominicans have to come together to achieve a pact for peace and peaceful coexistence. No more violence.”

Mera also was an attorney and a founding member of the Modern Revolutionary Party. He was appointed minister of the environment and natural resources in August 2020.

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