San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Police Probe Sandinista Lawmaker for New Year’s Shooting

MANAGUA – Police are investigating a Sandinista legislator for a bizarre New Year’s Eve shooting in which the politician raised a racket outside of a Managua church in an alleged attempt to rescue his daughter from what he mistakenly believed to be an attempted kidnapping.

Legislator and TV personality Evertz Cárcamo damaged a door while trying to enter the church’s storage room, located in northern Managua. The church treasurer and 63-year-old security guard who called police to report the lawmaker’s boisterous antics, which took place around 4 a.m., said Cárcamo appeared to have been drinking.

“We haven’t been able to prove that,” said National Police spokesman Alonso Sevilla. As it turned out, Cárcamo’s 14-year-old daughter, who lives with her grandmother, wasn’t kidnapped, but was missing momentarily, according to Sevilla.

The incident follows unconfirmed reports that the legislator, a former Vice-Mayor of Managua and director of the popular TV comedy program Camara Matizona, could be a Sandinista mayoral candidate for Managua in the upcoming elections next November.

Cárcamo’s mother, who cares for his daughter, apparently told him that his daughter was missing and may have been kidnapped, according to Sevilla. Cárcamo’s search in the streets apparently led him to a homeless man who told him his daughter was being held in the church’s storage room, which, he was told, was occupied by drug addicts.

Cárcamo told authorities he could hear music behind the door, but no one responded when he knocked. So he began kicking on it, which witnesses say caused damage to the church’s door.

The church’s security guard, who was told not to open the door for anyone, was inside. Finally, with neighbors witnessing the event from their homes, Cárcamo backed up and fired off a couple of gunshots into the air.

Cárcamo retuned to the church the next day to ask forgiveness and offered $11 to pay for the damaged door, but the church staff didn’t accept.

Though Cárcamo doesn’t deny having fired shots – an illegal act – police haven’t taken any action against him.

“We have to wait until we conclude the investigation to make a decision,” about whether to file charges, Sevilla said.

Pedro Argueta, head of the National Police’s firearms registry, said those who fire a gun in public can be charged with exposing people to danger, a crime punishable by up to three years in prison, even if no one gets hurt.

Cárcamo told the daily La Prensa he was acting on his fatherly instincts.

“I’m the most harmed from this incident. They told me my daughter was in that building, a place where they say bums go to smoke marijuana, and where thieves hide,” Cárcamo said.

Cárcamo isn’t the first weapon-toting legislator to get himself in trouble for gunplay.

Former Liberal Constitutional Party lawmaker Fernando Avellán, who landed himself in jail last year for breaking the nose of his party’s spokesman, fired nine shots with a 9mm pistol above the heads of a crowd of rowdy soccer fans that were swarming his vehicle in 2002, injuring one bystander.


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