Tragedy struck in the city of Colón as gunmen opened fire on a gathering of people, resulting in the death of 26-year-old Gilberto Hernández, a player for Panama’s national football team. Seven others were injured in the attack, which has left the community in shock.
The motive behind the shooting remains unclear, and authorities are investigating whether Hernández was the intended target. The incident is particularly distressing as Colón has seen a surge in violence in recent months, with two rival gangs vying for control of lucrative drug smuggling routes.
Colón, a city of 40,000 residents located at the northern entrance to the Panama Canal, serves as a crucial transit point for cocaine trafficking from South America to Europe. The violence in the city has taken a grim toll, with more than 50 people losing their lives this year alone.
The tragic incident occurred on a Sunday afternoon when two gunmen coerced a taxi driver to take them to a building in Colón’s Barrio Norte neighborhood. Once there, they opened fire on the gathering before fleeing the scene.
Gilberto Hernández, who had made his national team debut earlier this year in a match against Guatemala, leaves behind a grieving family and community. His father made a heartfelt plea to the youth of Colón, urging them to end the cycle of violence and calling on authorities to initiate initiatives aimed at steering young people away from such dangerous paths. He also implored the perpetrators to surrender, saying, “Don’t cause more harm.”
Panama’s football federation and Gilberto Hernández’s club expressed their condolences to his family, mourning the loss of a promising talent and a young life cut tragically short. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need to address the violence plaguing Colón and similar communities, striving for safer and more secure environments for their residents.