"In flagrancy procedure and with the legal supervision of the Ecuador Prosecutor's Office, so far 6 people have been apprehended during raids executed in (the neighborhoods of) Conocoto and San Bartolo, in Quito, in the framework of the murder of Fernando Villavicencio," the Prosecutor's Office reported via Twitter.
Interior Minister Juan Zapata had indicated that the detainees "belong to organized crime groups." According to the police, the six people arrested are all Colombians, including an attacker who was shot dead.
The Prosecutor's Office previously reported the death of a suspect who was detained after being wounded during a crossfire with security personnel. The suspect was transferred badly wounded to a Flagrancy Unit in Quito. An ambulance from the Fire Department confirmed his death.
The Prosecutor's Office, which is investigating the murder of the 59-year-old politician, informed that Legal Medicine proceeded with the removal of the victim's body in a clinic and transferred it for the respective autopsy.
#AHORA | #Pichincha: se instala la audiencia de calificación de flagrancia y formulación de cargos contra 6 personas, sospechosas del asesinato del candidato presidencial Fernando Villavicencio. #FiscalíaEc presentará elementos de convicción durante la diligencia. pic.twitter.com/ZJI5r7yFJS
The tweet reads, "The hearing of qualification of flagrancy and formulation of charges against 6 people suspected of the murder of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio is installed. Prosecutor's Office Ecuador will present elements of conviction during the diligence."
On his official Twitter account, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso attributed the crime to organized crime and warned that it will not go unpunished.
Lasso called for an urgent meeting of the Government Security Council and State authorities and the National Electoral Council to analyze this armed attack that occurs 11 days before the early general elections.
The president has declared a state of emergency for two months and said he has requested FBI support for the murder investigation. Lasso also declared three days of national mourning.
Villavicencio was killed as he left a rally, part of his election campaign in northern Quito. The crime came at a time when Ecuador is suffering an escalation in violence due to the actions of criminal gangs linked to drug trafficking and in the midst of the election campaign for the presidential and legislative elections on August 20.