The Environment Minister of the Dominican Republic, Orlando Jorge Mera, was shot dead in his office by an assailant described as a “personal friend” of his, the office of the Presidency confirmed.
Miguel Cruz, “a personal friend of the deceased minister”, is already “in the custody” of the National Police and the Public Ministry, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement by the Presidency.
The Dominican government expressed its condolences to the minister’s family, adding the incident “is already under investigation” and its findings will be released to the public in a timely manner.
Environment Ministry sources cited by local daily “Acento” said the assailant entered Mera’s office alone, and then between six and seven gunshots were heard.
The incident led to the evacuation of the ministry, and ambulances and police patrols arrived at the scene.
Mera, 55, was the son of former Dominican President Salvador Jorge Blanco, who ruled the Caribbean country between 1982 and 1986.
He became minister at the start of President Luis Abinader’s term in August 2020, pledging to pursue the “responsible use of natural resources, the protection and conservation of ecosystems, the reduction of pollution, and the effective management of solid waste.”