A man who shot his ex-girlfriend inside of a grocery store is brain dead after attempting suicide, police in Puerto Rico said.
Police said in a statement Saturday that 45-year-old Nelson Crespo Feliciano shot himself in the head after the attack inside a busy grocery store but survived. Authorities said he shot 26-year-old Jenifer Toro Hurtado in the mouth, back and stomach while his three small children looked on in the northern coastal town of Aguadilla on Friday.
Police said Toro is expected to undergo surgery soon.
Violence levels in Puerto Rico have skyrocketed recently, with the island on track to set a record for number of killings this year and a homicide rate more than four times the national average. The number of unsolved murders has also grown in the past two decades with some cases even garnering media attention in the U.S.
The violence has sparked public outrage over what many perceive as police ineffectiveness. A U.S. Justice Department report released in September said that Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) violated the Constitution and federal law by using excess and unreasonable force, making unconstitutional stops, searches and arrests and targeting individuals of Dominican descent among other problems.
“The Puerto Rico Police Department is broken in a number of critical ways. The problems are wide ranging and deeply rooted, and have created a crisis of confidence that makes it extremely difficult to develop police-community partnerships that are a cornerstone of effective policing,” said Thomas E. Pérez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division in a Justice Department Press Release.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.