Lawyer shoots environmentalist after they block highway

CHAME, PANAMA – A shocking incident unfolded on the Pan-American Highway in Chame, Panama, when an American retiree allegedly shot and killed two environmental activists amid a protest. The incident was captured on video and has since been circulated online.

Kenneth Darlington, a 77-year-old retired lawyer, found himself caught in the midst of the protest that had caused a traffic jam on the highway. The protesters were expressing their disapproval of a government mining contract that permits a Canadian firm to continue copper extraction for the next 20 years.

The video footage shows Darlington, distinguished by his gray hair, beard, and glasses, confronting the protesters. After a verbal altercation, he pulls out a firearm and attempts to remove some of the objects obstructing the road, all the while brandishing the weapon.

The situation intensifies as Darlington engages in a dispute with some of the protesters. He then appears to fire his weapon, hitting one demonstrator who falls to the ground. A second shot is fired, striking another man who stumbles to the roadside before collapsing.

As reported by Agence France-Presse, one of the victims died at the scene, while the other later died in the hospital. The victims were identified as Abdiel Díaz, an educator, and Iván Mendoza, who was married to a teacher in the San Carlos district.

Darlington, a dual citizen of the United States and Panama, was presented before a judge in La Espiga on Wednesday afternoon. He was subsequently detained. Local reports suggest that due to his age, if convicted, he may be sentenced to house arrest rather than imprisonment.

The ongoing protest, now in its third week, has been widely covered by local media. The roadblocks have reportedly resulted in daily business losses of up to $80 million and nationwide school closures for over a week.

President Laurentino Cortizo of Panama took to social media to express his condolences to the victims’ families, stating that such acts of violence are unacceptable in Panamanian society.