Former Peruvian President Alan Garcia Dies After Shooting Himself

Former Peruvian president Alan García died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head as police attempted to arrest him in connection with a bribery scandal, Reuters reports.

alan-garcia_getty-MARTIN BERNETTI : Staff
(Photo: MARTIN BERNETTI / Staff, Getty)

The 69-year-old was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday, according to the state news agency Andina.

Reuters reporter Luc Cohen tweeted that local media quoted García's family members at the hospital, where he had previously been in critical condition.

His death was confirmed by current President Martin Vizcarra, who expressed his condolences over Twitter. "Devastated by the death of former President Alan Garcia, I send my condolences to his family and loved ones," Vizcarra wrote.

García, who served as president of Peru from 1985 to 1990 and from 2006 to 2011, was under investigation for bribery in connection with a massive corruption scandal that involves several former Latin American leaders.

Reuters reports that he shot himself in the head after police arrived at his home to arrest him in connection with the bribery investigation.

When police arrived, García asked them to call his attorney and then he entered his bedroom, interior minister Carlos Morán told CNN. Moments later, a gunshot was heard. Officers forced entry into the bedroom and found García in a sitting position with a wound to the head.

At the hospital, García underwent emergency surgery and suffered three cardiac arrests, Health Minister Zulema Tomas said in broadcast comments. A doctor who spoke to journalists alongside Tomas at the hospital said that the bullet entered and left his head.

Local TV channel America reported that García was in a coma and showed images of his son, supporters and lawmakers arriving at the hospital, where police in riot gear stood by.

"The former president made the decision to shoot himself," his lawyer Erasmo Reyna said outside the Casimiro Ulloa hospital. "Let's pray to God to give him strength."

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García is accused of receiving kickbacks from one of Latin America's largest construction firms, the Brazil-based company Odebrecht, during the building of an electric train for the Lima metro while he was president during his second term. He has denied the claims.

In his most recent tweet, posted on Tuesday, García said there was "no shred of evidence" against him, accused Peruvian prosecutors of "SPECULATION," and said he had "never sold out and that is proven."