PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – A shooting rampage down a main street running through a neighborhood in Haiti’s capital killed at least 15 people, including a journalist and a political activist, national Police Chief Leon Charles said Wednesday.
He said the attack late Tuesday was still under investigation and gave no details on whether it was staged by a single person or multiple shooters. Bodies were found scattered on sidewalks along a main road in Delmas 32, which is a bustling community within Port-au-Prince.
Charles said the shootings occurred just hours after a spokesman for a group of disgruntled police officers known as Fantom 509 was slain in that same area. He blamed allies of Fantom 509 for the mass killing but did not provide any evidence.
“The institution cannot tolerate these acts of reprisal in any form,” said Charles, who heads Haiti’s National Police.
Members of Fantom 509 could not be immediately reached for comment.
The dead included Diego Charles, who worked for Radio Vision 2000, and activist Antoinette Duclaire.
The killings shocked many in Haiti and come as gang violence escalates elsewhere in the capital in recent months.
The U.S. Embassy condemned the slayings in a statement, saying it was “deeply concerned by the loss of life and general insecurity.”
“The United States urges the government of Haiti to protect its citizens by countering the proliferation of gangs and by holding the perpetrators of violence and their accomplices accountable,” the embassy said.