Oscar Perez, a Venezuelan police pilot accused of stealing a helicopter and using it to attack the country’s Supreme Court in June, was killed Monday in Caracas, a government official told CNN.
The high-ranking member of the Venezuelan government asked to remain anonymous. CNN has not been able to independently confirm Perez’s death.
“BREAKING NEWS: Óscar Pérez is wounded by an exploded grenade launched by security forces surrounding him. He denounces that Maduro’s regime is shooting at them and do not allow them to surrender.”
ÚLTIMA HORA | Óscar Pérez está herido tras estallido de granada lanzada por cuerpos de seguridad que lo mantienen rodeado. Denuncia que régimen de Maduro les disparan y no los dejan entregarse pic.twitter.com/z1NNVCWZue
— Alberto Rodríguez (@AlbertoRT51) January 15, 2018
The assault was made public early Monday by Pérez himself, who posted video snippets on social media, including one in which he appears with a bloodied face.
“They are firing at us with RPG, grenades and grenade launchers, snipers,” Pérez says in one video. “There are civilians in here. We told them that we’re going to turn ourselves in and they don’t want to let us surrender. They want to kill us.”
A police operation for the capture of former CICPC inspector Oscar Pérez and his team took the entire day in Venezuelan social media. By 11:00 p.m., there was no official statement about his situation, only reports of the police takeover of the Bello Monte morgue, as an insinuation that his corpse might be there. Oscar Pérez’ group made a live digital recount of the assault they faced, uploading videos on his Instagram account (@equlibriogv) that showed what was happening. An unprecedented method that raised more suspicion than solidarity and prompted official mouthpieces to make unwise statements.
Venezuelan forces surrounded a house in the town of El Junquito, near the capital, Caracas, as they targeted the “cell” linked to pilot Oscar Pérez.
The authorities said they had arrested five people who they accuse of being part of a criminal group.
It is unclear what became of Mr Pérez.
The saga of a police pilot and former actor who authorities said stole a helicopter in June and tossed grenades over official buildings took another violent turn as government forces said they had engaged in a bloody shootout with him and supporters at their rural hideout.
Venezuelans watched on Monday as Oscar Perez posted videos online of the fighting between special-forces soldiers and his group of civilians and former military personnel.
“Venezuela, they’re killing us!” Mr. Perez said in a video amid gunfire as blood streamed down the side of his face. His fate wasn’t known Monday evening. He has been calling for rebellion against President Nicolás Maduro’s autocratic rule.
After hours without revealing what Oscar Pérez’s fate was, Justice Minister Néstor Reverol gave a news conference on Tuesday.
In it he said that Mr Pérez was among seven “terrorists” killed in the siege.