Top Dominican Republic official gunned down by close friend

The political scene in the Dominican Republic turned violent over the weekend after a top government official was seemingly gunned down in cold blood.

According to ABC News, Orlando Jorge Mera, the island nation’s minister of the environment and natural resources and the son of one of its former presidents, was shot to death by a close friend while the two were in his office.

According to the Dominican Republic’s president’s office, Fausto Miguel de Jesús Cruz de la Mota, the friend, and alleged killer, was arrested at a church several blocks away after reportedly admitting that he committed the crime to his priest.

According to the New York Post, as the alleged killer was handcuffed and led from the church, bystanders could be heard yelling at the man, with some chanting “You killed a good man! Murderer!”

So far, police are unsure of what kind of motive would drive the minister’s close friend to cold-blooded murder. ABC also noted that the alleged killer, 56, didn’t make it clear whether he had legal representation.

Making the story even more bizarre, the two weren’t recent pals — as it was later reported that the two had been close friends since childhood. The family of the victim had already announced publicly that they forgive the killer.

“Our family forgives the person who did this,” the family said in a statement. “One of Orlando’s greatest legacies was to not hold grudges.”

The Post added: “The family is influential in Dominican Republic’s political circles. Jorge was the son of former Dominican President Salvador Jorge Blanco and his sister is a vice minister in President Luis Abinader’s administration. Jorge’s son is a lawmaker for the Modern Revolutionary Party, of which Jorge was a founding member.”