Violence in Venezuela

Violence and unrest are tearing Venezuela apart. Lost somewhere in the spray of bullets and fog of tear gas are the stories of the dead. Here are their stories. 

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CNN’s efforts to reach the Venezuelan government and opposition for comment on this story on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

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The first victim of violence, Jairo John Ortiz Bustamante, was 19 years old. Protesters were gathering in the Montaña Alta area of Carrizal, a town south of Caracas.

Ortiz’s father, Jairo Jhoan Ortiz, told state-run television VTV his son came home earlier that night and then went to meet a friend. He did not return home.

Around 10 p.m., the prosecutor’s office says, the Venezuelan National Guard, or GNB, and Venezuelan State Police, known as PNB, began approaching the protesters.

Somehow, Ortiz was shot in the chest It’s reported he was not participating in the protests.

Ernesto Villegas, Venezuela’s communications and information minister, says Ortiz’s father told him, “My son was not an anti-government protester. He was a pacifist”

Human Rights ombudsman William Saab immediately condemned his death, saying it would be investigated.

A day later, PNB Officer Rohenluis Leonel Mata Rojas, 27, was arrested and charged with Ortiz’s killing.

Queliz studied law at Arturo Michelena University. A protest had formed near his house on April 10; it’s unclear if he stepped outside to see what was going on or if he was a participant.

As state police officers closed in on the protesters, shots rang out.

Queliz, 19, was shot in the neck. He was rushed to the hospital but died en route.

On April 12, two Carabobo state police officers were arrested and charged with Queliz’s death: Chief Supervisor Marcos Ojeda, 47, and Officer Edwin Romero, 33.

Colmenares, 36, and four friends were walking down the street in Barquisimeto on April 11, according to reporting from online Venezuelan news outlet RunRun.es.

A friend of Colmenares told the outlet they were suddenly surrounded by armed men who said they were with the GNB. The armed men asked for their papers and if they had been protesting; there had been a protest nearby.

They reportedly told the armed men they hadn’t been.

The friends said their phones and belongings were confiscated and they were thrown on the ground and beaten.

Finally, after what the friend said felt like an eternity, the armed men told them to run.

“One, two…” and then a shot rang out. The group bolted.

“Miguel put his hand on his side but kept running,” the friend told RunRun.es. “Then we heard another shot and saw him fall.”

El Impulso reported that Colmenares was later found with 11 gunshot wounds. A news release from the Public Ministry contradicts this report, saying that Colmenares died from injuries suffered during an explosion.

The Public Ministry has opened an investigation into the death but no charges have been filed.

It’s unclear why Canelón was near demonstrations on April 11 in Cabudare, but amid the chaos he received multiple gunshot wounds to the right side of his chest.

On April 20, ombudsman Saab said 14 members of the Venezuelan National Guard were charged with Canelón’s death.

Around 9 p.m. on April 11, Marbelys Jiménez told Venezeulan television outlet Alba TV, she sent her son to buy some empanadas. The 14-year-old, brother to four other children, did not return home.

Jiménez says a white Ford Fairlane unleashed a hail of bullets at a GNB checkpoint at the front of her community.

Two shots struck Principal in his back. He reportedly died of his injuries around 11 a.m. the next day.

It’s unknown if Carlos José Moerno was participating in the April 12 protests in Caracas or just an innocent bystander.

A friend of Moreno’s sister was at the protests when he heard a shot.

“I saw a motorcycle go by, and a man fired a gun without getting off,” he told online news outlet El Estimulo. “I saw someone fall down and then the same motorcycle left.”

The friend later reportedly found out via text message it was Moreno who had fallen. He had been shot in the head.

Moreno, 17, died in the hospital.

In an interview with El Estimulo, his uncle remembered Moreno’s social work at his school.

His school friend Manuel Santacruz told El Estimulo he enjoyed the beach, playing soccer and riding his bike around Caracas. He also loved playing League of Legends online.

The details around José Sanclemenete Barrios’ death are unclear.

The 28-year-old sergeant in the GNB died in the line of duty after being shot in the chest by an unknown subject.

Ombudsman Saab says he was shot by a sniper; state-run television VTV reports a man on a motorcycle shot him while attacking a GNB security cordon on April 19.

The slaying is under investigation.

José Sanclemenete Barrios and his wife had just welcomed a baby girl, according to La Tabla.

Witnesses in San Cristobal told CNN affiliate Globovision that a group of motorcyclists had just passed by when shots rang out around 3 p.m. on April 19; everyone quickly ran for shelter.

The group had reportedly been terrorizing the area.

When they felt the danger had passed, they came out of their hiding places and found Paola Ramírez Gómez, 23, dead on the street,

She had been shot in the chest.

Later that night, the prosecutor’s office says, Pernia Dávila turned himself in to authorities and said he shot Gomez from the roof of his building.

April 19 saw massive protests in support of and against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Almelina Carrillo was walking to the hospital where she worked in Caracas. It just happened that she was near a pro-government protest.

Suddenly, she was hit with a glass bottle.

The impact caused a head contusion, and she died in the hospital on April 23.

On May 3, the public ministry charged Jesús Juan Albi Zambito, 42, with her murder.

The 20-year-old died on April 20 from electrocution amid protests in an El Valle bakery. It’s unclear at this time if his death is specifically related to those protests.

There are no more details about his death.

The 47-year-old died on April 20 from electrocution amid protests in an El Valle bakery. It’s unclear at this time if his death is specifically related to those protests.

There are no more details about his death.

The 29-year-old died on April 20 from electrocution amid protests in an El Valle bakery. It’s unclear at this time if his death is specifically related to those protests.

There are no more details about his death.

The 33-year-old died on April 20 from electrocution amid protests in an El Valle bakery. It’s unclear at this time if his death is specifically related to those protests.

There are no more details about his death.

The 27-year-old died on April 20 from electrocution amid protests in an El Valle bakery. It’s unclear at this time if his death is specifically related to those protests.

There are no more details about his death.

The 21-year-old died on April 20 from electrocution amid protests in an El Valle bakery. It’s unclear at this time if his death is specifically related to those protests.

There are no more details about his death.

The 20-year-old died on April 20 from electrocution amid protests in an El Valle bakery. It’s unclear at this time if his death is specifically related to those protests.

There are no more details about his death.

The 15-year-old died on April 20 from electrocution in an El Valle bakery. His family tells Venezuelan online news outlet RunRun.es that he was on his way home from his grandmother’s house and was not participating in the protests in El Valle.

They go on to say he was pushed into the bakery.

The 16-year-old purportedly suffocated on tear gas during protests in El Valle.

There are no more details about his death.

The 28-year-old was found dead with a gunshot wound amid protests in El Valle.

There are no more details about his death.

The 34-year-old was found dead with a gunshot wound amid protests in El Valle.

There are no more details about his death.

The 19-year-old was found dead with a gunshot wound amid protests in El Valle.

There are no more details about his death.

Guitian, 25, left his house around 9 p.m. on April 20, reportedly heading to his aunt’s house. As he walked, he passed a protest.

“The GNB starting firing like crazy and shot him,” his grandmother Nelvis Díaz told Venezuela’s online news outlet Caraota Digital. “We were told at the hospital he was shot with a shotgun.”

She told the outlet that Guitian had mental and psychosocial disabilities.

Guitian’s cousin Angela García told Caraota Digital that neighbors took him to a second hospital because the first did not have the necessary supplies to treat him.

“They told us that he kept saying, ‘It hurts,’ ” Garcia says.

The Public Ministry has opened an investigation into Guitian’s death.

According to ombudsman Saab, Sulbarán was attending a pro-Maduro demonstration in Campo Elias on April 24.

He was a criminology student and government official in Merida state.

The 42-year-old died after being shot in the neck.

The Public Ministry has opened an investigation into his death.

The 54-year-old was found dead in Barinitas after someone fired multiple shots amid protests on April 24. He was brought to a hospital where he later died.

The Public Ministry has opened an investigation into his death.

His son told Venezuelan newspaper Ciudad Barinas that his father, who was not involved in politics, was returning home from visiting his girlfriend in the hospital.

The Public Ministry’s office says Medina, 23, was at a protest in El Tocuyo, a town in Venezuela’s Lara state. He was found in the early hours of the morning shot in the head.

State-run AVN reports that Medina was the son of Lenny Aguilar, a party member of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, President Maduro’s party.

The outlet also reports that groups in the town burned businesses and government buildings during the protest.

The Public Ministry has opened an investigation into Medina’s death.

Márquez’s colleagues told online news outlet El Pitazo that he was a great worker at the University of the Andes, where he reportedly worked for 23 years.

Work colleague Juan Carlos Zambrano told El Pitazo that although Márquez supported former President Hugo Chavez, he went to a protest on April 24 organized by opposition party La Mesa de Unidad Democrática, just to see what was going on.

While there, Márquez was shot in the head, He was taken to a hospital where he died from his injuries the next day.

According to state-run VTV, Tomatico, as he was often called, was the father of three children, ages 5, 7 and 10.

According to online news outlet Conciencia es Noticias, a number of shops were vandalized in Valencia on April 24 amid protests in the city.

Christian Ochoa’s stepfather, Eleazar Guerra, told the outlet his son was at his home when he heard noises outside.

He went on to say that when Ochoa went outside to check on the noises, a number of police officers had just arrived and were blanketing the area.

Ochoa saw how hostile the situation had become, so he reportedly got down on his knees and put his hands on his head.

Guerra told Conciencia es Noticias that police opened fire on Ochoa, hitting him in the abdomen and the leg.

Then, according to Guerra, the police officer who shot him began kicking him, along with three other officers.

He says they also assaulted a neighbor after confiscating a phone that recorded the incident.

Ochoa was taken to a hospital, where he later died.

On May 4, the prosecutors office charged State Police Officer Gerson Alberto Quintero, 36, with Ochoa’s death.

Juan Pablo Pernalete was a 20-year-old college student who loved basketball. Part of his Facebook url — “lebronjuan” — showed just how much he loved the sport.

He loved Venezuela, too.

Pernalete’s aunt told CNN affiliate Globovision that despite pleas from his parents to not participate in anti-Maduro protests, Pernalete went.

“They can kill you,” she told Globovision, relaying the purported conversation. “The only thing he kept saying was that he wanted to fight for his country. That he wants to be free and that if they were to kill him in the march, they could also kill him on a corner to rob his phone.”

While at the protest in Caracas’ Altamira neighborhood, a tear gas canister reportedly hit Pernalete in the chest, killing him.

Ricardo Perafán, a paramedic and childhood friend of Pernalete, told the newspaper El Nacional that he gave CPR to him for more than 40 minutes.

His death sent shock waves throughout Venezuelan media; it even caused the son of ombudsman Saab to speak out on social media, pressuring his father to “do what’s right.”

Family members, speaking to El Impulso, say Rojas Gil was walking down the street on April 26 in Barquisimeto. The prosecutor’s office says there was a protest in the vicinity at the time.

The family says Venezuelan National Guard members opened fire on the opposition protesters, instead hitting the 20-year-old.

Rojas Gil was injured and later died en route to hospital.

Moreira, 28, was riding his motorbike on May 2 through a section of the Prados del Este highway in eastern Caracas.

A vehicle traveling in the wrong direction, reportedly to avoid a protest taking place on the highway, hit Moreira, killing him.

The car fled the scene after the incident. The Public Ministry has opened an investigation into the death.

His friends and teammates, speaking with online media outlet Efecto Cocuyo, remember his dedication to swimming. As part of the Venezuelan national swimming team, he participated in national and international competitions.

According to the outlet, he leaves behind a 2-year-old.

The 20-year-old died on May 2 amid protests in Valencia. The Public Ministry says it is investigating his death.

There are no more details about his death.

Cañizales, 18, was with friends on May 3, participating in an anti-Maduro protest on Caracas’ Francisco Fajardo Highway.

His friend Maru González says they had a quick conversation amid the chaos.

“We told him, ‘Let’s go back,'” she says. “And he didn’t want to. He told us, ‘I will stay here, fighting for my country.'”

Shortly after, Cañizales was dead. A bullet pierced his neck. According to state-run VTV, Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami says he was “in the line of fire” of those shooting at the Venezuelan National Guard.

The vice president reportedly went on to guarantee the government’s commitment to catch those responsible for Cañizales’ death.

He wanted to become a doctor and was known for his love of music. He also was a violinist in the Venezuela popular youth program El Sistema.

The group, many members with tears in their eyes, played the Venezuelan national anthem in tribute.

State police officers were responding to an opposition protest on May 3 in Carabobo’s San Joaquin municipality. According to a Carabobo state government news release, protesters were “disrupting public order.”

Around 10 a.m., police officers were shot at and one was wounded.

Then, at 5:30 p.m., another group of officers attempted to break up the protest. Shots rang out again, striking Barrera.

The 38-year-old died at a hospital.

On May 9, the prosecutor’s officer arrested Estrella González, 26, and charged him with Barrera’s murder.

Protests planned in Carabobo’s city of San Diego quickly turned out of control on the morning of May 4.

Lugo, 20, was reportedly shot by a shotgun. According to exclusive reporting by CNN affiliate Globovision, he died around 9:30 a.m. on May 5.

The prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into his death. The city of San Diego declared three days of mourning after his death.

On Wednesday, Venezuela’s Attorney General Twitter page confirmed that Anderson Dugarte died “after being injured in a demonstration” in the city of Merida.

There are no more details about his death.

Castillo, 27, died on Wednesday “during a demonstration” in Caracas, according to the Twitter page of the Venezuelan Attorney General.

There are no more details about his death.

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Online: CNN

CNN’s Julia Jones, Stefano Pozzebon, Natalie Gallon, Rolando Zenteno Ramirez and Miguel Escalona contributed to this report.