An elderly American has been apprehended following a disturbing incident where a gunman was captured on camera approaching environmental protesters blocking a Panamanian highway and fatally shooting two of them.
Disturbing video footage shows a man with gray hair and glasses calmly approaching the blockade on the Pan-American Highway. He engages in an argument with the demonstrators, waving his finger at them, before suddenly producing a gun and opening fire.
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Additional footage depicts people gathered around the bodies of the victims in the Chame sector west of Panama City. The gunman is later seen being handcuffed and escorted to a police vehicle.
Who is Kenneth Darlington?
Authorities later identified the suspect as Kenneth Darlington, a 77-year-old lawyer and professor who holds dual citizenship in the US and Panama. One of the protesters shot was declared dead at the scene, while the other succumbed to their injuries at a local hospital.
The shooting occurred during the third week of protests against a significant mining contract that grants Canada-based First Quantum Minerals the rights to operate the region’s largest copper mine pit for at least two decades. These roadblocks have caused substantial economic losses, with daily business losses estimated at up to $80 million, and they have resulted in the closure of schools nationwide for over a week.
Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo expressed his condolences to the families of the deceased protesters and condemned such violence, stating that it has no place in the nation’s supportive society.
This tragic incident followed a previous report of a protester being fatally run over by a foreigner attempting to bypass a roadblock.
The Pan-American Highway, spanning approximately 19,000 miles, is the world’s longest route, extending from Alaska to Argentina with a break in the Darién Gap.