Director of Bogota’s La Modelo Prison Shot Dead Following Surge in Prison Violence

Bogota, Colombia – The new director of La Modelo prison, one of Colombia’s largest prisons, was tragically shot and killed in the capital city on Thursday. Elmer Fernandez’s untimely death occurred after the government declared a “prison emergency” in February due to a spike in violent incidents within the country’s prison system.

Fernandez, a former police colonel, was fatally shot while returning home from work. Despite receiving threats to himself and his family, he had no security escort or armored vehicle. His murder has prompted a massive police operation in Bogota to apprehend the perpetrators responsible for this heinous crime.

The Justice Minister, Nestor Osuna, denounced Fernandez’s killing and vowed to pursue the assailants with a major police effort. President Gustavo Petro also condemned the murder, calling it a vile act. Fernandez had been actively implementing new government policies aimed at cleaning up the jail and cracking down on criminal activities within the prison.

Colombia’s prison system has been plagued by issues of overcrowding and the influence of organized gangs conducting illicit operations from inside the penitentiaries. La Modelo prison, where Fernandez served as director, has seen its share of violence, with past incidents resulting in multiple fatalities.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been reports of increased threats and attacks targeting prison officials, with five guards already losing their lives. The government has acknowledged that hundreds of officials have received death threats over the past two years, highlighting the dangers faced by those working in the country’s prisons.

As investigations into Fernandez’s murder unfold, concerns about the pervasive influence of criminal groups operating within the prisons persist. With calls for enhanced security measures and protection for prison officials, the tragic loss of Fernandez serves as a somber reminder of the risks associated with combating crime within Colombia’s prison system.