GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador (AP) – Ecuadorian sprinter Alex Quiñónez was shot and killed in the port city of Guayaquil, police said on Saturday.
Quiñónez, who was 32, became a national hero in 2012 when he reached the 200-meter final at the London Games, finishing seventh in a race won by Usain Bolt.
Guayaquil-based El Universo newspaper reported Quiñónez was shot and killed in a street in the city’s northwest on Friday around 9:20 p.m. and that another man was also killed.
No arrests were immediately reported.
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso promised in a statement on Saturday that the murder “will not go unpunished”.
Quiñónez’s death was also confirmed by the Ecuadorian Olympic Committee of the Olympic Committee in a statement on Saturday. He said the circumstances of his death “have not yet been clarified.”
Quiñónez won bronze in the 200m at the 2019 World Championships in Doha.
Andrea Sotomayor, secretary general of the Ecuadorian Olympic Committee, expressed her sadness and indignation on Twitter, denouncing “so much harm”.
“I have no words to express the sadness, helplessness and indignation that overwhelm me,” wrote Sotomayor, former sports minister. “Álex Quiñónez was synonymous with humility and a clear example of resilience. Its loss leaves us with pains in the chest.
Guayaquil and other parts of Ecuador struggle with high levels of crime. This month, Lasso declared a state of emergency to tackle drug trafficking and other crimes in Ecuador, saying the military and police will take to the streets to provide security.
This year, there have been revolts in the country’s prisons over drug-related violence, notably in Guayaquil, which have resulted in massacres by inmates of rival gangs linked to Mexican drug cartels. About 230 people were killed in these complexes.
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