Seventeen killed in nightclub stampede in Venezuela

Clay Curtis
June 17, 2018

Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said eight minors were among those killed. Five people were injured and taken to hospital for treatment. Julio Cesar Perdomo said his injured son told him the tear gas was launched from inside a bathroom and that partygoers tried to flee but found the club's door closed.

The detonation set off a stampede, with more than 500 people rushing for the exits of the Los Cotorros club in the middle-class neighbourhood of El Paraiso.

Eight of those killed were younger than 18, said Reverol.

The club, a two-story red brick building, was empty later on Saturday morning and there was no police presence outside, according to a Reuters reporter there.

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'The establishment has been ordered closed, and we are investigating in coordination with the public ministry, which is directing the criminal investigation'. According to Reverol, eyewitnesses said one of those minors was responsible for setting off the tear-gas canister.

Family members wept and embraced one another after identifying the remains of their loved ones at a nearby hospital.

Homicide rates in Venezuela have shot up during the country's spiral into economic crisis and political meltdown and many Caracas residents refuse to go out at night due to security fears. The Venezuelan NGO Observatory of Violence (OVV) also listed Venezuela second as the most murderous nation, right behind El Salvador, the OSAC report stated.

Authorities said non-governmental groups inflate figures to create paranoia and tarnish President Nicolás Maduro's socialist government.

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