Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Rebel ex-police officer among dead in shootout

Published:Wednesday | January 17, 2018 | 12:00 AM
In this July 13, 2017 file photo, Oscar Perez speaks to the press at a night vigil to honor the more than 90 people killed during three months of anti-government protests, in Caracas, Venezuela.

CARACAS (AP):

Officials in Venezuela confirmed yesterday that a rebellious police officer who led a brazen helicopter attack in Caracas last year was among those killed in a violent shootout with security forces.

Oscar Perez was among the seven who died fighting against police and soldiers yesterday in a small mountain community outside of Caracas, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said.

Two police officers were killed and eight others gravely injured, he said.

"The terrorist acts committed by this terrorist cell showed the destabilishing objectives that they were pursuing," Reverol said.

Opposition lawmakers and human rights groups called for a transparent investigation into the deaths after video images showed Perez shouting over gunfire that they wished to surrender.

"We're going to turn ourselves in!" Perez said in the video.

A former police officer, action-movie star and pilot, Perez leapt into the spotlight in June, when he stole a helicopter and used it to lob grenades and fire at two government buildings in Caracas. Nobody was killed in the attack.

Perez, 36, had been one of Venezuela's most wanted fugitives ever since, periodically posting videos on Instagram calling upon Venezuelans to take to the streets against what he called President Nicolas Maduro's tyrannical government.