GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - At least one woman was killed and 22 people were injured on Tuesday after a drive-by grenade attack outside Guatemala’s second-largest hospital aimed at a jailed gang leader who was having a check-up, the country’s interior minister said.
Marlon Ochoa, the brother of the founder of Guatemala’s “Calle 18” gang, had been taken from prison for a check-up at the San Juan de Dios hospital in Guatemala City when the morning attack took place, Mauricio Lopez told reporters.
Ochoa was already inside he building and was unscathed, he added.
A grenade was lobbed at the prison services vehicle he had traveled in and assailants on a motor bike and in a car opened fire, Lopez said. The car was later found abandoned with guns in it, he added.
“This may be an attack by the Mara Salvatrucha, because if it had been a rescue, there would have been a shootout with the guards,” Lopez said.
Gangs have long run riot throughout Central America, one of the world’s most violent regions.
First formed in the 1980s in the United States by Central American immigrants, the “Calle 18” and “Mara Salvatrucha” gangs, or “maras,” later blossomed into international franchises as members were deported back to their home countries.
Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Writing by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Simon Gardner and Andrew Hay