Aug. 18 (UPI) — Seven people died and at least 12 were injured in a Guatemala City hospital shootout after a criminal gang tried to break out a hospitalized member, police said.
Members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, known in the United States as MS-13, arrived at the city’s Roosevelt Hospital Wednesday to free convicted murderer and prison inmate Anderson Daniel Cabrera Cifuentes, 29 — a gang leader taken to the hospital for medical tests.
Police said the gunmen killed two guards, two hospital workers, two children and a bystander in the hospital’s emergency room before they were arrested, the BBC reported Thursday.
Cabrera escaped and at least eight of his rescuers were arrested. Guatemala’s National Civilian Police said that two AK-47 assault rifles were seized.
At least one guard and one child were among those reported injured.
Local media said the hospital was a scene of chaos during the gun battle. They mentioned a medical student collapsing after a bullet lodged in a 500-page medical textbook in his backpack.
After the attack, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales requested that judges stop ordering public hospitals to admit convicted criminals, adding that mobile clinics would instead visit prisons.
Carlos Soto, Roosevelt Hospital’s director, agreed, telling local media his facility would no longer treat inmates, even if “I’m ordered to do it by the president.”