Francisca Sandoval

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On May 1, 2022, gunmen opened fire during a Workers’ Day demonstration and subsequent looting in the Barrio Meiggs area of the capital Santiago, injuring at least three members of the press, according to news reports and a statement by the Chilean Journalists Union, an independent professional association. The gunmen appeared to be local street vendors who armed themselves and shot at the protest after several demonstrators caused damage near their makeshift shops, according to news reports.

Francisca Sandoval, 29, who was covering the demonstration for the local community broadcaster Canal Señal 3 La Victoria, was shot in the face and remained in critical condition at the Posta Central Hospital in Santiago until her death on May 12, according to news reports and a statement by the Chilean Journalists Union.

Fabiola Moreno, a reporter for Radio 7, was shot in the shoulder, and Roberto Caro, a reporter with the community news outlet Piensa Prensa, was shot in the leg, according to those news reports and Chilean Journalists Union President Danilo Ahumada, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app. Both journalists received medical treatment and were discharged, Ahumada said.

Shortly after the incident, Chilean police detained two suspects in the shootings, and the prosecutor’s office ordered that they remain under house arrest, according to news reports.

On May 2, the Chilean Investigative Police detained a third suspect, Marcelo Naranjo, a street vendor, who is believed to have shot Sandoval, according to press reports and a tweet by the Ministry of Interior. Naranjo, who remains in detention, was initially charged with attempted homicide, illegal possession of weapons, and unjustified shooting, according to news reports. After Sandoval’s death, the Central-North Metropolitan Prosecutor’s Office said that the charges would be modified, according to news reports.

CPJ called the Chilean Investigative Police for comment at the phone number listed on its official website, but the call did not connect.