Juan Carlos Vásquez

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Vásquez, a sports reporter with the afternoon daily Ultima Hora, was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer after a dispute over a hit-and-run accident. Vásquez, Ultima Hora photographer Victor Abreu Peña, and a cameraman were returning from Santo Domingo where they had covered a jet-ski competition when their jeep collided with a public minibus. According to witnesses, the three journalists then followed the minibus, which had driven away from the scene of the accident. When the minibus finally stopped, Vásquez began talking with the bus driver and a man got off, identified himself as a police officer, and drew his gun.

After Vásquez allegedly asked the officer to explain why the accident occurred and told the cameraman to film him wielding his gun, the officer shot Vásquez twice without warning. He also shot and wounded Peña, who was trying to help the fallen Vásquez. The officer then tried to shoot the cameraman who was filming the exchange. The three journalists had been traveling in a jeep belonging to a television station, and the vehicle was clearly marked with the station’s logo. The officer, who was subsequently dismissed from his job, was arrested and at year’s end was in prison awaiting trial on charges of murder.