The Dominican Republic is mourning after the minister of the environment, and natural resources was murdered inside his office.
On Monday, Orlando Jorge Mera was shot to death by his close friend Miguel Cruz on the fourth floor of the building that also houses the Ministry of Tourism. Employees at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources reported hearing at least seven shots within the building shortly before police arrived.
Mera was arrested, but no motive for the shooting has been revealed. Though it appears to be an isolated incident, Mera’s ministry said it was “worried by the situation.”
The 55-year-old comes from a long line of politics. His father is former Dominican president Salvador Jorge Blanco, who was in office from 2002 to 2006. His sister Dilia Jorge Mera is a vice-minister in Abinader’s administration. Mera’s son, Orlando Jorge Villegas, is a lawmaker for the Modern Revolutionary Party, which Mera co-founded alongside President Luis Abinader. Mera took office in 2020 and promised to decrease pollution in his role.
His family confirmed that he’d been shot multiple times by his lifelong friend, whom he’d known since childhood. Mera is survived by his wife, Patricia Selma Villegas, and his two children.