Retired American Lawyer Identified As Shooter In Panama Environmental Protest Killings
A motorist who is alleged to have shot and killed two environmental protestors blocking a bridge in Panama has been identified as a retired American lawyer.
The Daily Mail reports that Kenneth Darlington, 77, appeared before a judge in the town of La Espiga on Nov. 8, where he was remanded to custody. Darlington, a Panamanian-born U.S. citizen, has a previous conviction for illegal possession of a firearm.
According to TVN-Noticias, photographers and television crews were on hand to film the protest when Darlington walked up to a roadblock on the Pan-American Highway and got into an argument with a group of people that included the two victims. Darlington then allegedly gunned down the two people.
The protestors were on the highway to fight against the Panamanian government’s agreement with a Canadian-based firm to run an open-pit copper mine that is the largest in Central America for the next 20 years.
Eliécer Plicett, a lawyer for the two victims, said Darlington has been charged with murder and illegal possession of a firearm. However, they added that he may avoid jail time due to his age.
The protestors, who have been fighting the mine for three weeks, set up a roadblock that left Darlington stuck in traffic while driving back to the interior of the country after various errands in the city of La Chorrera and reportedly told other passengers, “This ends today,” as he exited his car.
Before he allegedly shot the two protestors, Darlington threatened other protestors at the scene with his firearm. One of the victims, Abdiel Díaz, died at the scene, while the other, Ivan Rodriguez, was taken to a local medical clinic but died on the way there.
After shooting the two men, Darlington continued to clear the highway before returning to his vehicle and telling a woman in the car, “Let’s go.”
The woman refused, asking Darlington if he realized what he had done, and the retired lawyer responded, “Yes, I killed one and shot another.”
Darlington is set to appear in court in Panama City on Nov. 15.