BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentine authorities said on Monday they had identified suspects in the shooting death of a British tourist killed in an armed robbery attempt outside a luxury Buenos Aires hotel over the weekend.
Police said they were still looking to arrest those suspected of the shooting, but in the meantime had arrested four members of the wider gang suspected of coordinating the crime. Police said one of those arrested is suspected of organizing the logistics of the attack, but they did not give details about how the others were allegedly linked to the shooting.
Officials said gang members on Saturday killed one man and injured another in the luxurious tourist district known as Puerto Madero.
The gang suspected in the attack is known for other targeted robberies in Buenos Aires, police said.
“It’s not the first thing they have done here in the city of Buenos Aires. We already managed to identity the actors and we are working on their arrest,” said Gabriel Berard of the Buenos Aires police in a news conference on Monday.
The tourist, who a source with knowledge of the case confirmed as 50-year-old Matthew Gibbard of England, was targeted by the thieves for his high-end watch as he arrived at the capital’s Ezeiza International Airport on Saturday morning. He was traveling with family members, including his stepson, Stefan Zone, 28.
Men on motor bikes followed the vehicle they were traveling in, and attempted to rob them when it stopped outside the luxury Faena Hotel, police said.
Gibbard and Zone were both shot. Some media reported there was a struggle with the suspects, citing CCTV images. Gibbard died from his injuries. Zone is recovering in the hospital, the source said.
Officials said the vehicles used in the attack had been identified by police. At least 18 searches had been carried out by police in the case since Saturday, officials said.
Argentina’s new President Alberto Fernandez, speaking with a local radio station over the weekend, called the incident “atrocious.”
“It’s something we can’t tolerate,” Fernandez said.
Although fatal robbery attempts against tourists are rare in Buenos Aires, petty crime is common. During the last 12 months, a Swedish tourist was shot in the leg, which doctors had to amputate, in a robbery in the popular tourist neighborhood of San Telmo. Weeks later, a Canadian man was stabbed in a robbery attempt for his cell phone in the same area of the city.
Editing by Nick Zieminski and David Gregorio