A U.S. tourist was killed Wednesday in a robbery in a hostel in Colombia’s second largest city, Medellin.
It’s believed 58-year-old Denis Ian Levy was shot dead in El Tamarindo hostel in the city’s El Poblado district shortly after midnight Wednesday.
According to Colombian newspaper El Colombiano, two women and one man entered a hostel located near the corner of Calle 7 and Carrera 35, and registered as guests shortly after midnight.
Medellin Police Commander Yesid Vasquez told the paper, “they searched the tourist’s room […] they asked him to open a box in which they found 20,000 pesos ($11.36) and that’s when the problem started.”
A struggle followed during which Levy was fatally shot and the suspects fled with Levy’s valuables.
An anonymous source told Colombia Reports that the assailants did not register with the hostel and that the hostel’s receptionist went upstairs to look for more money because the hostel only had 20,000 pesos in its lock box.
According to the source, Levy was using a computer in the reception area when the assailants asked for his wristwatch. He resisted, began to scream, and was fatally shot.
Marco Durango of nearby hostal Casa Kiwi told Colombia Reports, “I was working that night, we’re just around the corner from Tamarindo. I saw a lot of commotion and police everywhere.”
A city official told El Colombiano, “We need more control and police presence because [El Pobaldo] is the highlight of Medellin and what happens here affects the city on an international level.”
Last year a British tourist was killed in an attempted robbery in Medellin’s Belen district, which is near El Poblado.
Medellin’s image has improved since the heyday of drug-related violence and the reign of drug lord Pablo Escobar, but security remains an issue.