Venezuela pro-government political figure shot dead

January 20, 2016

CARACAS — Robbers shot dead a prominent ally of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Ricardo Durán Trujillo, 45, was shot near his home on Tuesday night, the state prosecution service said in a statement.

Durán was a former journalist and ex-head of media for the National Assembly legislature. He was a high-profile supporter of the socialist president, who is locked in a political standoff with opponents.

Prosecutors citing witnesses said Durán “was intercepted by three men” in the west of the capital and resisted when they tried to rob him.

“The unidentified men shot him several times and he died on the spot,” then the men drove off in their own vehicle without taking anything, said a prosecution statement.

“It is striking that they did not take anything,” said Daniel Aponte, head of the Capital District government, a metropolitan authority for which Durán was working.

Aponte told reporters Durán was carrying his own firearm at the time of the attack.

Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world, according to the United Nations.

It is gripped by a political and economic crisis, with a standoff between Maduro and the center-right opposition in the legislature raising tensions.

Duran was working as head of media relations for the metropolitan authority, which was set up by Maduro to rival the opposition-held city hall.

He was also a Caracas city councilor and worked for state television channel Venezolana de Televisión.

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