September 28, 2022
The Dominican Republic's minister of environment and natural resources, Orlando Jorge Mera, was fatally shot Monday, the country's president announced.

The Dominican Republic‘s minister of environment and natural resources, Orlando Jorge Mera, was fatally shot Monday, the country’s president announced.

Authorities arrested Miguel Cruz, a close childhood friend of Mera’s, as a suspect and are investigating the motives behind the shooting, which occurred when Mera, 55, was in a meeting, the BBC reported.

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“I deeply regret the death of my good friend, our minister, Orlando Jorge Mera. My most sincere condolences to his wife Patricia and his children Orlando and Patricia Victoria. Rest in peace, dear friend,” Dominican President Luis Abinader tweeted after the shooting, per a Google translation.

At least six shots were heard by witnesses, BBC said. Mera had served in Abinader’s administration since he came to power in the summer of 2020. He had been a founding member of the Modern Revolutionary Party, to which Abinader belongs.

Mera is the son of former President Salvador Jorge Blanco and is survived by his wife and two sons. His wife serves as the Dominican ambassador to Brazil. Following news of Mera’s death, his family released a statement.

“Our family forgives the person who did this. One of Orlando’s greatest legacies was to not hold grudges,” they said, per VOA News.

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Cruz was apprehended by authorities at a church about 15 minutes from Mera’s office, the Associated Press reported. He was reportedly donning a bulletproof vest and a helmet when police took him into custody.

Mera has served in the post since August 2020.

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