On January 6, 2022, suspected gang members shot and killed Haitian journalists John Wesley Amady and Wilguens Louis-Saint while they were reporting on the lack of security in Laboule 12, an area disputed by gangs in the Port-au-Prince commune of Pétion-Ville, according to news reports and Wilmane Vil, a journalist who was at the scene and escaped unharmed, and who spoke to CPJ via messaging app.
Multiple gangs, including Toto and Ti Makak, are fighting for control of Laboule 12, according to news reports, which said that Amady and Louis-Saint were planning on interviewing the leader of Ti Makak when they were attacked. The Association of Haitian Independent Media, a local trade group, alleged that members of the Toto gang were behind the attack on the journalists, according to news reports.
Amady was on assignment for the Montreal-based broadcaster Radio Écoute FM and Louis-Saint worked for the online outlets Télé Patriote and Tambou Verité, according to news reports and a statement by Radio Écoute FM. Vil was on assignment for the digital outlet RL Production, he told CPJ.
The three journalists were walking in the area when unidentified attackers suddenly opened fire, according to Vil and news reports. Vil found a safe location and called Amady, who told him that the gang members had captured him and Louis-Saint; Amady could be heard begging for their lives, and then Vil heard gunshots and the call ended, according to those sources.
On January 7, Vil reported his colleagues’ deaths to the Central Directorate of Judicial Police, he told CPJ. That same day, police agents recovered the bodies of the two journalists, according to press reports. Radio Écoute FM initially reported that the journalists were also burned after being shot, but images received by CNN later showed gunshot wounds but no evidence of burning.
CPJ called the Haitian Judicial Police for comment, but the calls went unanswered. CPJ sent a request for comment via messaging app to the spokesperson of the Haitian National Police, Marie-Michelle Verrier, but did not receive any response.