Luis Manuel Medina

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Radio journalist Luis Manuel Medina was shot and killed during a Facebook Live broadcast from the office of radio station FM 103.5 in the southeastern city of San Pedro de Macorís on February 14, 2017, according to press reports.

Medina, a presenter for the news program “Milenio Caliente,” was killed in the recording booth while filming a broadcast on Facebook Live. Gunshots and a voice shouting, “Shots, shots, shots!” can be heard before the video abruptly ends. A gunman also shot and killed Leónidas Martínez, a director and producer at the radio station. Dayana García, an administrative worker at the radio station, was shot in the stomach and hospitalized in serious condition, according to a United Press International report.

On February 15, police identified José Rodríguez, 59, as the primary suspect in the murders. The same day, police gave chase to Rodríguez who shot at them several times before turning the gun on himself, police spokesman Nelson Rosario told reporters at a press conference.

Some press reports raised questions about the official version, citing anonymous neighbors who claimed that Rodríguez was killed in a shoot-out. The National Forensic Institute said that Rodríguez was shot once in the head and called the death a probable suicide, according to a statement by the Attorney General’s Office.

Rodríguez had been in a prolonged conflict with the State Sugar Council over plots of land he had purchased from them. He had appeared at the station on at least two occasions, at least once when the director of the State Sugar Council was giving an interview at the station, according to a report commissioned by the executive branch of the Dominican government.

The report concluded that the deadly attack was “directly linked to the buying and selling operations of three land lots between José Rodríguez and the State Sugar Council,” but called the reasons why Rodríguez took out his frustration on the journalists an “indecipherable enigma.” The report, produced by a commission headed by Flavio Darío Espinal, a lawyer for the executive branch of the Dominican government, concluded that there was no evidence that the reporters had any interest in the land deals associated with Rodríguez.

“The only explanation that can be made in a minimally plausible way is that when Mr. Rodríguez showed up to the station on February 14, 2017, carrying copies of documents in a folder and perhaps in search of answers to his demand for the refund of the money he paid to the State Sugar Council… upon finding that he could not get a satisfactory answer to his request, since [the journalists] were neither in a position to give it…Mr. Rodríguez lost control and discharged the firearm that he carried against three innocent people who were fulfilling their work duties,” the report stated.

Medina reported on politics, and had recently denounced pollution in Laguna Mallén, a protected lake in San Pedro de Macorís, according to an article in The Guardian. He was also the official announcer for the Estrellas Orientales baseball team, the article said.