Three policemen, one gang member and one civilian were killed Sunday in an operation in the east of Medellin that ended in the arrest of local militia leader “Gomelo.”
A police patrol was allegedly fired upon around 1PM Sunday when a grenade was thrown by members of Gomelo’s gang, instigating a deadly fight that broke out throughout the troubled Comuna 8 district.
The violence resulted in the deaths of three police officers, a gang member and one innocent bystander. The blameless father of five was caught in the crossfire while in his home, reported local newspaper El Colombiano. “It’s not fair, he was just resting,” his wife told the newspaper.
The battle ended with the arrest of Naranjo Juan Camilo Martinez, alias Gomelo, in the Villa Tina neighborhood, according to newspaper El Tiempo.
The militia leader who was “gravely” injured during the melee, was the leader of a Comuna 8 gang that earlier this year broke away from the Oficina de Envigado, the formerly hegemonic crime syndicate of Medellin. Gomelo’s crew then aligned itself with the rival drug gang “Los Urabeños,” who are slowly taking over sectors of the city and whose allies recently killed two policemen in the west of the city.
Comuna 8 is considered to be a strategic point for drug traffickers due to its access to the Bajo Cauca‘s coca growing region, resulting in the increased bloodshed and violence that has been inflicted on the community by the Urabeños neo-paramilitary group and their rivals.