Wednesday, September 06, 2023
Panamanian international footballer Gilberto Hernandez, who played as a defender for Club Atletico Independiente, was killed by two gunmen in the city of Colón.
The Panama Football League confirmed Hernandez's untimely demise, revealing that the incident occurred during a gathering with friends near his mother's residence.
Eyewitnesses and local police reports detail that the assailants arrived in a taxi, opening fire without warning. The horrifying incident not only claimed Hernandez's life but also left seven others injured, sending shockwaves through the football community.
The Panamanian Football Federation (FEPAFUT) expressed its deep condolences to Hernandez's family and the wider football family in Panama. In a statement posted on social media, FEPAFUT lamented the tragic loss of this young talent.
Local reports indicate that the incident took place in Colón's Barrio Norte neighbourhood, which has seen a disturbing rise in violent incidents. The national police have since confirmed the apprehension of a suspect believed to be responsible for Hernandez's murder.
Colón, a city of 40,000 residents, has been grappling with escalating violence as two rival gangs vie for control over drug smuggling routes. Over the past months, the city has witnessed over 50 homicides, highlighting the urgent need for intervention and security measures.
The shooting, which occurred during Sunday afternoon local time, saw two gunmen forcing a taxi driver to transport them to the location before opening fire on the group gathered there. The attackers fled the scene, but one suspect has been arrested in a nearby apartment complex, although the motive remains unclear.
Gilberto Hernandez recently made his debut for the Panamanian national side in a match against Guatemala earlier this year. His father, deeply affected by the tragedy, has called upon the youth of Colón to end the cycle of violence and has urged authorities to initiate projects aimed at saving the city's youth.
This devastating incident marks the second time in recent years that a Panamanian national team player has been killed in Colón, underscoring the urgent need for addressing the issue of violence in the region.