Bolivian authorities confirmed later Monday they had arrested three people in connection with the explosion of a gas grenade at the Tomás Frías University in Potosí, which resulted in the deaths of four students who were attending an assembly in a closed room.
Minister of Government Eduardo del Castillo confirmed that the Police had apprehended Manfred Flores Canaza, the third person involved in the detonation and who, according to him, is believed to have been the main perpetrator of the attack, which also left dozens injured.
We inform the Bolivian people and in particular the people of Potosi, of the apprehension of Mr. Manfred Flores Canaza, main and material author of the unfortunate event that occurred in the afternoon at the Autonomous University Tomas Frias where 4 people died, wrote del Castillo on social media.
Earlier in the day, the police had arrested Mauricio Quintanilla, a university leader linked to the Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS) who had called the student assembly that was taking place when the grenade was detonated. The other suspect arrested was Ariel Quispe.
#ATENCION Asamblea de estudiantes universitarios en Potosí se convierte en tragedia, se lanzó una bomba lacrimogena dentro del coliseo que sólo tenía una salida, esto provocó una avalancha humana dejando como resultado 3 personas fallecidas #09Mayopic.twitter.com/3H11pudQr1— Mყ Boᥣιvιᥲ (@MyBolivia) May 9, 2022
There has been a criminal act. I cannot call it any other way because it is inconceivable that a university student would attack another university student, said Rector Pedro López.
Special intelligence groups of the Special Force against Crime (Felcc) were mobilized to identify the alleged perpetrators, it was reported.
Felcc Chief Nelson Pacheco informed that, according to the witnesses, the suspect identified as Mauricio Q. would be responsible for throwing the tear gas.
The university auditorium was full of students who attended an assembly to approve the call for the elections of the Local University Federation when clashes broke out after a tear gas grenade was thrown.
The event caused a human avalanche, leaving four dead, and over 60 injured, who were rushed to nearby hospitals.