Dominican environment minister shot dead in his office

In this photo provided by Diario Libre, The Dominican Republic’s Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources Orlando Jorge Mera poses for a publicity photo in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, May 18, 2022. (ALEXANDER ARIAS / DIARIO LIBRE VIA AP)

SANTO DOMINGO – The Dominican Republic's environment minister, Orlando Jorge Mera, was shot dead in his office on Monday, authorities said.

A spokesman for the president's office, Homero Figueroa, said in a video posted to Twitter on Monday afternoon that a suspect, identified as Miguel Cruz, was arrested.

Employees at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources told journalists that they heard at least seven shots from within the building

Figueroa said Cruz was a childhood friend of the minister, without giving a potential motive for the attack.

Employees at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources told journalists that they heard at least seven shots from within the building. Police units arrived on the scene shortly after.

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Mera, a 55-year-old lawyer, was the son of former president Salvador Jorge Blanco, who was in office from 2002 to 2006.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia Selma Villegas, and his two children. His son, Orlando Jorge Villegas, is a federal legislator and member of the Modern Revolutionary Party.

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The president and the government have made themselves available to the minister's family, Figueroa said.