A Venezuelan military police sergeant shot and killed a protester who was attacking the perimeter of an airbase on Thursday, June 22, according to the interior minister, bringing the death toll to at least 76 since the daily protests began in April.
A cell phone video shows at least two soldiers shot at 22-year-old David Jose Vallenilla at close-range with long firearms through the fence of La Carlota airbase in Chacao, a municipality of Caracas.
Villenilla was taken to a private hospital, where he died. He was wounded in the heart and lungs according to a doctor who had treated him.
“The sergeant used an unauthorized weapon to repel the attack, causing the death of one of the participants of the siege [of the airbase],” Interior Minister Néstor Luis Reverol stated on Twitter.
Opposition lawmaker Jose Manuel Olivares, who was at the protest and was injured in the arm by rubber bullets, said that the national guard police shot Villenilla at point blank range.
Demonstrators have clashed daily with police and the national guard since April when the nation’s highest court ruled it would take over the responsibilities of the opposition-controlled legislation. Although the decision was reversed a day later, protests have continued.
President Nicolás Maduro also called for a rewrite of the 1999 constitution and for a citizens assembly. Critics decried this as an opportunity to put off elections, including the presidential one, scheduled for the next two years.
The once-prosperous country is also facing food and medicine shortages that threaten the lives of thousands.