New shootings in Chile left two dead and no clues: alarm rises over clashes between criminal gangs

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Clashes between gangs or robberies are the main police theses

 New shootings in Chile left two dead and no clues: alarm rises over clashes between criminal gangs


Cristián Torresfrom Santiago, Chile

New shootings in Chile left two dead and no clues: alarm rises over clashes between criminal gangs

Shootings and shootings are becoming more frequent in Chile: two deaths in one night raise alarm among the public

Two crimes of similar characteristics that occurred in the last few hours in Chile increase the Concern about how criminals act. They approach, shoot and kill. Murders that go unpunished and in most cases without responsibility.

In the early hours of this Thursday, a body with at least seven bullet wounds was found in the heart of the capital, Santiago. In another area, to the south, another attack against a 46-year-old man died after receiving four bullet wounds in the middle of a public road in the Lota commune.

Unsolved crimes

In the last known case in the Chilean capital, the 20-year-old victim of foreign nationality, according to the police, received bullet wounds inside a house and was later dragged to the street.

In September 2022, an emblematic crime generated alarm among the authorities due to the way it was executed. A man riddled with bullets in the Barrio Franklin sector, towards the southern sector of Santiago Centro, moved public opinion. The event occurred in the context of a barbecue, there, a group of people were around a grill when they were approached by two people on a motorcycle. One of them got out and fired at the victim, who received a series of shots to the head, chest, and back.

At that moment, Inspector Carolina Muñoz, from the Homicide Squad of the Investigative Police (PDI), recounted the facts based on preliminary information: “A team from the Metropolitan Homicide Brigade, at the request of the North Central Metropolitan Regional Prosecutor, is working on the homicide of a man who was admitted to the Barros Luco Hospital with a gunshot wound. In parallel, we are working with the central crime laboratory, at the intersection of Franklin and Víctor Manuel streets, in the Santiago commune, to collect evidence that will allow us to clarify the circumstances of the incident,” said

However, it was not an isolated event. In December of the same year, another man was shot, this time inside his car and on public roads in the Lo Espejo commune, also in the capital. The police report noted that the victim was traveling in a vehicle that was intercepted by another vehicle inside which was a group of men, who fired at least seven shots at the victim.

New shootings in Chile left two dead and no leads: alarm rises over clashes between criminal gangs

Shooting on public roads claimed two victims in Chile in the last few hours

The police theses refer to the so-called “reckoning”, pending debts between rival gangs. But, the victims of these deaths in several cases are not members of criminal gangs, so the explanation is that it refers to robberies. The same robberies that were previously carried out by surprise or with violence, are now resolved with shots and death, to avoid investigations that ultimately lead to jail.

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The above is the thesis of an expert. In conversation with Infobae, Carlos A. Gutiérrez, PhD in Forensic Sciences and expert in Public Safety, focused on the explanation of the lack of responsibility in the police. “The police have an investigation, formula and analysis protocol problem, something that is in line with what is happening in Chile today. Let them be policemen of this time, up-to-date and who are not taught the same things that were taught in the eighties”, he says.

The crime of the North American who was a tourist in Chile

Last Sunday, January 14, during the morning, the first details of a murder that occurred in the very center of Santiago were known. According to the account of some witnesses, four shots were heard, and three of them hit the victim. The police took the victim to a care center, where he finally lost his life.

It was Eric Eugene Garvin, 38 years old , an American tourist who was visiting Santiago before continuing a trip to Buenos Aires. Carabineros reported an alleged discussion that ended with his homicide, but as the days went by it became known that it was actually an assault, and that the criminals murdered him only in order to steal his cell phone.

The parents of the American tourist traveled to Chile to find out the details of the crime and expedite the procedures to repatriate his body. According to the information shared by the family: “preliminary reports say that when my son went out to dinner in downtown Santiago he was shot several times while three or four guys robbed him . he was alone. It is the darkest chapter of our lives because we are living the worst nightmare”, commented the father.

Until now, the whereabouts of the authors are unknown, and they are wanted after the review of the security cameras in the sector. Garvin was a constant traveler, in fact, he would have been to 40 countries and he died in Chile.

The expert, Carlos Gutiérrez, defines that the problem is police protocol.“In general it is due to confrontations between rival gangs, over debt or territory. It is what we see in several cities of the American continent that this happens. Obviously they are crimes that must be investigated but the police give priority to other things, and other times they are robberies that unfortunately end in homicides. Because the perpetrator of the murder is under the influence of drugs or nervousness. Chile is seeing this frequently because there is a high flow of arms. And there is another phenomenon that is a problem that lies in the modernization and updating of the police. The changes that have been developed in the police have been cosmetic, but there is no modernization. The so-called “revolving door” is not due to a lack of will on the part of the judges, but rather to the lack of expert evidence provided by the police. So, crime evolves, but the police don't”, he warns.

Gutierrez, assures that the example ofwhat happened with the American citizen murdered in Chile demonstrates this inability. “A circle of lack of information and knowledge is generated, which was evidenced in the case of the tourist. The family was looking for him and the body had been in the Legal Medical Service for days, so it is clear that there is a lack of systems, online information”, he maintains.

Data and studies warn that Chile It is experiencing its worst moment in terms of security since the return to democracy. This was described by the authorities of the Undersecretary for Crime Prevention. In fact, in the first half of 2022, the homicide figures shot up by almost 30% compared to the same period of the previous year, reaching a total of 413 crimes. Statistics even show a decrease in petty crimes such as surprise robbery, but the significant rise in the use of firearms in crimes was always on the rise in 2022 and in the first days of 2023 , known facts of these characteristics per day.

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