Former President Of Peru Shoots Self To Death To Avoid Arrest. (Image Courtesy: Panamericana TV)
Former President Of Peru Shoots Self To Death To Avoid Arrest. (Image Courtesy: Panamericana TV)

Peru’s former President Alan Garcia has died in a hospital in Lima on Wednesday after shooting himself as police arrived at his house to arrest him in connection with a bribery case, authorities say.

Concise News reports that Garcia, who had repeatedly denied wrongdoing, was 69.

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President Martin Vizcarra says on Twitter that he is “dismayed” by Garcia’s death, and sent his condolences to his family members.

Garcia shot himself in the head after police arrived at his home to arrest him in connection with a bribery investigation, the interior ministry says.

“Garcia, 69, underwent emergency surgery at the Casimiro Ulloa hospital and suffered three cardiac arrests,’’ Health Minister Zulema Tomas discloses in a broadcast.

Garcia was one of nine people a judge ordered to be arrested in connection with an investigation into bribes distributed by Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction company.

Local Television channel, America reports Garcia was in a coma and showed images of his son, supporters and lawmakers arriving at the hospital, where police in riot gear stood by.

A skilled orator who led Peru’s once-powerful Apra party for decades, Garcia governed as a nationalist from 1985 to 1990 before rebranding himself as a free-market proponent and winning another five-year term in 2006.

He had denied any wrongdoing involving Odebrecht and blamed his legal troubles on political persecution.

“Others might sell out, not me,” Garcia says in a broadcast comment on Tuesday, repeating a phrase he has used frequently as his political foes became enmeshed in the Odebrecht investigation.

Interior Minister Carlos Moran says at a news conference that Garcia had told police he needed to call his attorney after they arrived at his home in Lima to arrest him.

“He entered his room and closed the door behind him.

“Within a few minutes, a shot from a firearm was heard, and police forcibly entered the room and found Garcia sitting with a wound in his head,” Moran says.

In 2018, Garcia asked Uruguay for political asylum after he was banned from leaving Peru to keep him from fleeing or obstructing the investigation, but Uruguay rejected the request.

Garcia would have been the third former president in Peru to have been jailed in the Odebrecht case.

Ollanta Humala spent nine months in pre-trial detention in 2017 to 2018 and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was arrested without charges recently.

A fourth former president, Alejandro Toledo, is fighting extradition from California after a judge in Peru ordered him imprisoned for 18 months in connection with Odebrecht in 2017.

However, they have all denied wrongdoing in connection with Odebrecht.

In Peru, criminal suspects can be ordered to spend up to three years in jail before trial if prosecutors can show they have evidence that likely would lead to a conviction and the suspect would likely flee or try to interfere in the investigation.