Freelance reporter Quiroz died seven days after being hospitalized for injuries suffered when he was arrested by police while covering a protest, according to press reports.
Quiroz, 31, lapsed into a coma and died of a heart attack in the María Reina Clinic in Sincelejo, according to . He was a part-time journalist for "," a nightly cable TV news program in Sincelejo, the capital of northern Sucre department, and contributed to the El Meridiano daily newspaper in Montería, capital of neighboring Córdoba department.
Police detained Quiroz and impounded his motorcycle while he was covering a on November 20 in the town of San Pedro, according to Edgardo Ochoa, an editor and producer at "Notisabanas." Residents were demonstrating against a local natural gas company in connection with its perceived reluctance to hire local workers. Police told Quiroz he lacked proper insurance papers for his motorcycle, Ochoa said.
In an conducted the next day from his hospital bed, Quiroz told "Notisabanas" that officers put him on a police truck. Then, he said, "a policeman grabbed me, beat me, and threw me from the moving vehicle." The interview was the last Quiroz gave before he died, Ochoa said. The journalist, whose head appears battered and bloody in the video, was vomiting blood during the interview, Ochoa told CPJ.
News accounts that Col. Salvador Gutiérrez, chief of the Colombian National Police in Sucre department, initially said that Quiroz had been detained after getting into a fight with a police officer and that he had the police truck. On November 30, National Police Inspector Gen. Santiago Parra announced that three officers had been suspended while the case was being investigated, according to .
Quiroz said police told him he was targeted because of his news coverage, according to Ochoa.
Ochoa told CPJ that Quiroz had upset local authorities recently by reporting on the theft of cattle that were later found on a farm owned by a former San Pedro politician. Ochoa said that Quiroz had also reported on a case of police brutality in San Pedro. He said Quiroz had received a death threat on his cellphone in October and had traveled from San Pedro to Sucre to report the threat to the police and to the local office of the Attorney General.
At Quiroz' burial on November 29, protesters clashed with police who used tear gas and water cannons to repel them, according to . Four police officers and 50 civilians were injured, the reports said.