The prosecutor was shot more than 20 times while driving a white car in the north of Guayaquil.
A prosecutor investigating last week’s dramatic attack on a public television station was shot dead on Wednesday in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s most dangerous city.
Prosecutor César Suárez, who had led other high-profile investigations in the past and refused to be protected by police, was shot while driving a vehicle, said Attorney General Diana Salazar.
“Organised crime groups, criminals and terrorists will not stop our commitment to society,” she said in a video posted on X, formerly Twitter.
In recent months, Ecuador has been plunged into violence. Organised crime assassinated Fernando Villavicencio, a presidential candidate whose platform focused on cracking down on criminal gangs, in August last year.
A murder that shocked the country, which had not expected such an escalation in violence. Other mayors and politicians have been murdered, but now criminal gangs have struck a heavy blow by killing the public prosecutor.
‘Internal armed conflict’ in Ecuador
The prosecutor was shot more than 20 times while driving a white car in the north of Guayaquil. Before his assassination, he was working on the interrogation of the thirteen alleged perpetrators of the attack on TC Television, which was broadcast live.
A week ago, as the Ecuadorian news channel TC Televisión entered its final hour of broadcasting, shots rang out from inside the building. The day before, the country had been plunged into chaos after a wave of bombings, car bombings and assassinations.
“When I heard the shots, all of us in the newsroom ran to find a place to hide,” Alina Manrique, editor-in-chief, told El País newspaper.
About 20 hooded men armed with guns and dynamite took control of the studio and threatened the journalists. Some of them managed to escape when the police entered the building.
The attack led President Daniel Noboa to declare that Ecuador was in an ‘internal armed conflict’ amid a surge in murders and other crimes linked to drug trafficking.
Suárez was also in charge of the Metastasis case, in which an Ecuadorian drug lord allegedly received favourable treatment from judges, prosecutors, police officers and high-ranking officials.
Ecuadorian police said they were working to find those responsible for Suárez’s murder.
Ecuador has been rocked by a series of attacks, including the kidnapping of several police officers, after a notorious gang leader apparently escaped from prison over the weekend.
José Adolfo Macías Villamar, leader of Los Choneros, one of the Ecuadorian gangs blamed for a surge in car bombings, kidnappings and murders, was found missing from his prison cell where he was serving a sentence for drug trafficking.
His disappearance earlier this month prompted the government to declare a state of emergency and send the military into prisons, triggering a wave of at least 30 attacks across the South American country, including the attack on the Guayaquil television station.