Aguirre, 60, a photographer with the newspaper chain Cadena Capriles, which publishes El Mundo, was shot as he approached an anticrime demonstration in Caracas. He was initially assigned to take pictures of stadium renovations, El Mundo Editor Enrique Rondón told CPJ.
The stadium is near Universidad Central de Venezuela, where demonstrators were protesting the recent killing of three young brothers. The slayings ignited street protests demanding a crackdown on crime, the Venezuelan press said.
After completing the stadium assignment, Aguirre decided to cover the nearby protest. He got into a white Toyota Corolla, provided by El Mundo and marked with the paper’s logo. As Aguirre’s car neared the protest around 3:30 p.m., a man driving a blue Yamaha motorcycle approached. The motorcyclist demanded that driver Julio Canelón stop the car, Rondón said. When Canelón asked why, the motorcyclist responded that he was with the authorities but did not show any identification, the editor told CPJ.
Rondón said the driver did not stop and proceeded to the protest scene. The motorcyclist followed and shot Aguirre four times as he was getting out of the car with his camera. Aguirre managed to take a picture of the killer’s back fleeing the scene on his motorcycle, Rondón said. With the help of bystanders, the driver put Aguirre in the car and took him to a local hospital. The journalist died a few hours later.
Boris Lenis Blanco, a former Chacao police officer, was arrested in the killing on April 13. Members of the national crime police apprehended Blanco when a former colleague identified him as the driver of the motorcycle, the Caracas-based daily El Universal reported. Investigators later searched Blanco’s home and found evidence connecting him to the crime scene, the local press said.
Blanco, charged with murder and impersonation of a public official, went on trial in Caracas. In May 2008, the Caracas 14th Mixed Trial Tribunal convicted Blanco in the slaying and sentenced him to 15 years in prison.