17 injured in rampage at a nightclub in town of naschel, san luis provinceSunday, March 16, 2014
Two killed by off-duty police officer
Governor Claudio Poggi of San Luis province yesterday declared three days of mourning following a lethal rampage by an off-duty police officer that left two dead and 17 injured in the town of Naschel, population 3,500.
Officer Walter Talquenca, aged 40, is in custody after having indiscriminately fired his police-issue firearm into a crowd at a nightclub packed with approximately 280 revelers. Reports suggest that Talquenca was at the “Natacha Disco” nightclub with his wife and after she left, he retrieved a nine milimetre pistol from his car and began shooting. Blood tests determined that he had 1.67 milligrammes of alcohol in his blood. As a reference, 0.5 milligrammes is the upper legal limit for drivers.
Nightclub owner Martín Estrada told C5N cable news channel that he was at the back of the club when Talquenca approached “shooting at everyone in his path... and when I turned to face him, he was aiming at me but he ended up shooting Commissioner Barrios when he tried to tackle him to the ground.” Barrios was one of those killed, along with trucker Fernando Brizuela from the Buenos Aires province locality of Rojas. Once the shooting began, witnesses said that people ran for the bathroom and attempted to stay close to the floor to take cover. Once the emergency exits were opened, Talquenca attempted to flee the scene, before eventually firing his weapon at a casino in front of the nightclub and later outside the local police precinct.
At press time, there were conflicting reports about the number of rounds that Talquenca fired, with upper estimates at a total of 30 rounds. Talquenca was eventually arrested after a gunfight with police during which he was shot in the leg. He remains in custody.
The motives for the rampage are unknown. A psychological test was also expected to determine Talquenca’s mental state. He was to be interrogated late yesterday.
Poggi said that Talquenca does not have a record of violence and that he had exhibited good conduct with colleagues and the public. He added that “this is a tragedy that is very difficult to explain” before saying that he was “deeply affected” by the incident and that the decision to declare three days of official mourning “reflects the pain and shock of the people and government of San Luis.”
Two of the injured remain in serious condition at press time.
Herald with Télam