Former Peruvian President Alan Garcia died on Wednesday after shooting himself in the head moments after police attempted to detain him amid corruption allegations in Latin America’s largest graft probe.
President Martin Vizcarra announced on Twitter that Garcia died after undergoing emergency surgery hours earlier. Doctors at the José Casimiro Ulloa Hospital in the capital city of Lima said they provided cardiac resuscitation three times while trying to save his life.
“Distraught over the death of ex-President Alan Garcia,” Vizcarra wrote. “I send my condolences to his family and loved ones.”
The shocking end for the man who twice ruled Peru but more recently was ensnared in the Odebrecht corruption scandal comes amid national upheaval over endemic corruption involving nearly every former living president.
Garcia repeatedly professed his innocence and said he was the victim of false testimony by political enemies who accused him of taking more than $100,000 from the Brazilian construction giant. Odebrecht admitted in a 2016 plea agreement with the US Justice Department that it paid nearly $800 million throughout Latin America in exchange for lucrative public works contracts.
The 69-year-old former head of state’s attorney accused authorities on Wednesday of neglecting to provide Garcia information on why he was being detained or show their official identifications when they showed up to arrest him.
“The president, upset over this situation, knowing his absolute innocence ... had this terrible accident,” attorney Erasmo Reyna said.