An American tourist was shot and killed, and a friend wounded, in an apparent robbery attempt aboard a sailboat on Venezuela's Caribbean coast, police said Monday.

Kenneth Dale Peters, 55, was shot by armed men who boarded his sailboat to rob him and his passengers Saturday night, authorities said.

Peters apparently tried to defend himself with a gun and wounded one of the attackers, who got away, regional police chief Gustavo Palacios said.

Also wounded was Stephen Davis, 63, a friend of Peters. Police said he was recovering at a hospital.

Prosecutors said one suspect was detained Monday in the nearby town of Arapito. The man has yet to be formally charged.

Peters was visiting Venezuela on a tourist trip along with his wife, Palacios said. Authorities were making arrangements with the family to return his body to the United States.

Peters' sailboat, "Chill," was anchored off a small island in Mochima, a national park along Venezuela's northeastern coast. It was unclear if the intruders stole anything from the boat.

He and Davis had planned to leave in separate boats that night to return to the United States, Palacios said.

Details about the victim, including his hometown, weren't immediately available. The U.S. Embassy confirmed the death of an American but did not release any additional information.

Palacios said at least three suspects used motorboats, one of which was found and seized by police.

Tourists and fishermen have complained that a lack of coastal patrols is making the area around the park unsafe.

A French tourist was killed Sept. 15 aboard a sailboat off Vargas state, near Caracas.