US embassy workers shot in Caracas strip club


A man walks past a mural portraying the Venezuelan flag, President Hugo Chavez and South American liberator Simon Bolivar at the 23 de Enero neighbourhood, in Caracas on March 5, 2013.


Geraldo Caso

At about 4:25 a.m. on Tuesday, two United States Embassy officials were shot and injured at a strip club in Caracas, Venezuela, the State Department said.

The two employees suffered non-fatal gunshot wounds, though beyond that, details of the incident are unclear, such as whether or not the shooting occurred inside or outside the Antonella 2012 nightclub.

"We can confirm that two members of the U.S. Embassy in Caracas were injured during an incident early this morning. Medical staff informs us that their injuries do not appear to be life-threatening," the State Department said in a statement.

One of the embassy workers has been identified as military attache Roberto Ezequiel Rosas, who suffered a gunshot wound to his leg. The other employee was shot in his stomach. 

It remains unclear what caused the fight. "Apparently it was a fight originating in a nightspot where these people were attacked and shots were fired at them and they suffered gunshot wounds," police spokesman Douglas Rico told TV channel Globovision.

The incident draws attention to Caracas' intractable crime problem and a reputation that has earned the city the title of “the world’s murder capital.” The state has a murder rate, according to Reuters, of about at 55.2 per 100,000 residents. In Venezuela in 2011, some 16,000 people were killed. 

Besides Venezuela's crime problem, the shooting will likely also remind people of an incident last year in Colombia, where Secret Service agents assigned to help protect President Barack Obama were deported back the US for their involvement with prostitutes.