Published: Wed, January 17, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Rogue Venezuelan helicopter pilot killed by police

Rogue Venezuelan helicopter pilot killed by police

CARACAS, Venezuela-Venezuelan special forces on Monday captured five members of a band led by a rebellious police officer who has been on the run since stealing a helicopter and launching grenades at government buildings in the capital a year ago, officials said.

Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said seven "terrorists" including Perez were killed in the operation outside Caracas along with two police officers involved in the raid.

Perez, an ex-forensic cop and action film star, allegedly hijacked a police helicopter and attacked the Supreme Court last summer, when Venezuela was convulsed by anti-government protests.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro in a televised address Monday night claimed the group was preparing a auto bomb to use against an embassy, without giving details.

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Perez said in a message to his children that his fight against the government was dedicated to them and to the children of Venezuela, suffering the worst of the food and medicine shortages caused by the economic crisis. It also details that the security forces were attacked by terrorists when they were negotiating the terms of surrender and that members of the violent group resisted opening fire.

In some of the Instagram videos, shots can be heard.

"Venezuela, don't lose hope".

In all, 125 people were killed between April and July as authorities used force to put down protests to unseat Maduro.

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The high-ranking member of the Venezuelan government asked to remain anonymous. He garnered tens of thousands of followers online and has piqued the curiosity of Venezuelans who either hail him as hero, condemn him as a criminal or question if he might be a ruse to support Maduro's assertion that the nation is under attack by opposition conspirators.

"How is it possible that while surrendering, they riddled him with bullets?" said Delsa Solorzano, National Assembly deputy assigned to head the commission. "Where is the courage he had to attack military units, kill and injure officers and steal weapons?" she wrote on Twitter.

On Monday the authorities limited themselves to saying that the "terrorist group" was dismantled in an operation in which Special Forces commandos participated.

Perez, blond and blue-eyed, was well known to Venezuelans even before his attack on the Supreme Court - as an actor. "He is fighting for his country, for Venezuela", she said, adding that she is holding the government responsible for her son's life.

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