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Authorities in Colombia are continuing an investigation after the director of one of the country’s largest prisons was shot dead following threats against him and his family.

Elmer Fernandez, who began overseeing the “La Modelo” prison in Bogota in early April, was killed while driving his vehicle on Thursday. This incident occurred after the government had already declared a “prison emergency” due to a rise in prison riots, homicides, and attacks on prison staff across the nation. This resulted in Fernandez ordering cell searches and new security measures, which led to threats against Fernandez. 

Despite the ongoing threats, Fernandez did not have a security escort or an armored vehicle, even as he started implementing stringent new policies. 

More on the prison:
The prison, La Modelo, is notorious for housing some of Colombia’s most dangerous criminals and has a history of violent incidents. In 2020, a riot resulted in the deaths of 23 inmates, and in 2022, 49 inmates were killed in a fire during another riot in Tulua. Authorities acknowledge that organized gangs operate within the overcrowded penitentiaries, engaging in drug trafficking and extortion.

La Escena Del Crimen Del Director De La Prision Modelo Elmer Fernandez

Colombian President Gustavo Petro commented on the death, saying, “The murderers that they are not going to intimidate us and that we will move forward despite their attacks and insolence.” Justice Minister Nestor Osuna has added, “I want to express all my solidarity and that of the government and the entire nation to the family of Colonel Fernandez.” 


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