The Dominican Republic’s minister of the environment and natural resources – the son of a former president – was shot and killed in his office on Monday by a close friend, authorities said.
Orlando Jorge Mera was shot by Miguel Cruz, who has been detained, authorities said. Officials gave no potential motive, and it wasn’t immediately clear if Cruz had an attorney.
“We express our deepest condolences,” the office of President Luis Abinader said.
Jorge comes from a powerful political family. He is the son of former Dominican President Salvador Jorge Blanco and his sister is a vice minister in Abinader’s administration.
Jorge’s son is a lawmaker for the Modern Revolutionary Party, of which he is a founding member.
The family issued a statement saying that Cruz had been Jorge’s friend since childhood and that Jorge was shot multiple times.
“Our family forgives the person who did this. One of Orlando’s greatest legacies was to not hold grudges,” it said.
Police and emergency officials swarmed the office of the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry in the capital of Santo Domingo and barred entry to it as mourners gathered nearby.
Jorge’s office is located on the fourth floor of a building that also houses the Ministry of Tourism.
“We are troubled by the situation,” Jorge’s ministry said in a brief statement.
Bartolome Pujals, executive director of the government’s Cabinet of Innovation, wrote that he lamented the killing.
“His death is a tragedy,” he said. “We Dominicans have to come together to achieve a pact for peace and peaceful coexistence. No more violence.”
Jorge was an attorney who was appointed minister of the environment and natural resources in August 2020. He is survived by his wife, Patricia Selma Villegas, and his two children.