The unidentified suspects were arrested for killing Monica Spear, 29, and her ex-husband, 39-year-old Thomas Berry – who were gunned down in front of their 5-year-old daughter during a botched roadside robbery, police said. The little girl, Maya, survived with a bullet to her leg.
Five people were arrested for killing a former beauty queen and her ex-husband during a botched roadside robbery in front of their 5-year-old daughter in Venezuela, police said.
The unidentified suspects were collared after Monica Spear, 29 — a former Miss Venezuela — and Thomas Berry, 39, were shot after they tried to resist a band of thieves who attacked them between Puerto Cabello and Velencia on Monday night, officials said.
Their daughter, Maya, survived with a bullet to the leg.
“Sadness, anger, indignation, impotence, shame and pain, pain, pain, dammit!!!” tweeted TV personality Camila Canabal. “Monica and Thomas are the face of thousands of men and woman whose children have been left without parents because of the violence in Venezuela.”
The South American country has the fifth-highest murder rate in the world, according to the United Nations. Violent crime rose to record levels during the 14-year reign of Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer last year.
The fatal shooting was the latest in an ongoing spate of late-night assaults carried out by bandits disabling cars with objects placed on isolated roads.
The couple was heading to Caracas after a New Year’s vacation when their four-door sedan suddenly hit “a sharp object that had been placed on the highway” and punctured at least two tires, Jose Gregorio Sierralta, director of the country’s investigative police, told reporters.
A pair of tow trucks arrived to help almost immediately after the breakdown and the suspects attacked once the car was lifted onto one of the trucks.
Berry, a British citizen, and Spear pulled their child inside the car before locking the doors in an effort to stop the bandits — who fired at least six shots into the vehicle, police said.
“They fired with viciousness,” President Nicolas Maduro said.
Police in Puerto Cabello — the country’s main port — reported that they arrested five people, some under the age of 18, after the murders. It was not immediately clear if Berry or Spear called the tow trucks, or if any of the drivers were involved.
Maduro claimed the killing of Spear — who became a telenovela actress after she was crowned Miss Venezuela in 2004 — was a “loss of a very spiritual young woman.”