Story By: Juan Fenandez Mayes, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
This 14-year-old girl has been killed while she was doing dishes in her home and was hit by a stray bullet fired during a shootout between rival drug gangs.
The tragic incident occurred in the Urquiza neighbourhood located in the Argentine city of Rosario, in the Santa Fe province on Monday 14th September.
Gunmen arrived at the neighbourhood and opened fire in the direction of several houses after spotting a rival as he was about to leave on a motorbike. The two sides shot at each other with the bullets from the gunmen hitting the house where the victim Ticiana Esposito, 14, was in the kitchen at around eight in the evening.
She lived in the home with her parents, identified as Hernan and Wanda, and a nine-year-old brother who has not been named.
Esposito was hit in the head by the bullet that entered her kitchen through a window while she was doing the dishes.
The 14-year-old was taken to the Clemente Alvarez Emergency Hospital, however, the bullet was lodged in the centre of her cranium and nothing could be done to save her life. She died shortly after arriving.
Authorities found over 20 empty bullet shells at the scene.
According to the local newspaper ‘Infobae’ “police sources” claim the teenager’s death was “a mistake” and quoted the source saying: “They went looking for someone, a local in the neighbourhood. When he went out on his motorbike, he recognises them and they shot at each other.”
The same police source revealed the suspects “ran on foot and entered a taxi” during their escape.
The Criminal Investigation Agency Director (AIC) Maximiliano Bertolotti made a statement saying: “It was about a turf war between gangs or some other issue, with some analysis over time, the prosecutor will be able to determine what was their motivation and who was responsible.”
A cab driver named Gustavo Marcelo, 49, was detained the same night as the shooting at the San Martin health centre. He was receiving treatment for high blood pressure claiming it was caused by a mugging by the same gunmen who killed the teen.
However, authorities found inconsistencies in his statement and detained him while they looked into his claims. He remains in custody.
A further three suspects were detained in the following two days.
They have been identified as Brian Omar, 25, Joel Bernardo, 32, and Alex Gabriel, 20 – the last two have been reported as cousins.
Authorities found guns in the homes of the cousins, however, it is unclear if they were linked to the shooting.
Brian, Joel and Alex were charged with aggravated homicide with a deadly weapon, premeditated attack on two or more people and for carrying illegal weapons.
Gustavo Marcelo is scheduled to have a bail hearing later today (Friday).
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