Puerto Rico office shooting leaves 1 dead, 1 hurt

AP News
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Posted: Dec 02, 2011 3:09 PM
Puerto Rico office shooting leaves 1 dead, 1 hurt

A man opened fire inside an unemployment office in a central Puerto Rican town on Friday, killing one person and wounding another in what an official said appeared to be targeted attack and not a random shooting.

About 50 people, including employees and people seeking assistance, were inside the office in Caguas, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of San Juan, when the gunman opened fire and then fled in a car driven by an accomplice, Labor Secretary Miguel Romero said.

Witnesses said the man who was killed came into the office alone and called a relative to say he thought he was being followed, said Romero, who arrived at the scene after the incident to help coordinate the response.

"Everything seems to indicate that the victim was being followed," he said.

Police identified the man who was killed as Luis Lopez Rodriguez, a 27-year-old from the town of Cayey. A 31-year-old man was hospitalized with a gunshot wound.

A police officer at the scene, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release all the facts of the incident, said the gunman fired at least 15 times as the workers and customers fled for cover.

Prosecutor Miguel Colon said later that the man who was killed and the gunman apparently knew each other and authorities were trying to determine if the man who was injured was a target or a bystander. "We have no data that indicates a motive," he said.

Milagros Rodriguez, the mother of the man who was killed, said her son had been collecting unemployment benefits for six months and had come to the office Friday morning to check when his benefits would run out. He had a 5-year-old son. She declined to speculate on a possible motive.

"He was a good man," Rodriguez said.