PANAMA CITY, PANAMA – A 77-year-old US citizen was apprehended after a horrifying incident where he shot two environmental protestors dead on a Panama highway. Videos circulating online showed the man, later identified as Kenneth Darlington, approaching a blockade on the Pan-American Highway and engaging in a heated exchange with demonstrators before he started firing his weapon.
Evidence from the scene pointed out that two protestors were fatally wounded, with one succumbing to injuries at the spot and the other being declared dead at a nearby hospital. Darlington, a lawyer and professor holding dual citizenship in the US and Panama, was subsequently taken into custody.
The tragic incident occurred amid an ongoing protest against a large-scale mining contract, now in its third week. Protestors are contesting the agreement which permits Canada-based First Quantum Minerals to continue its operations at the region’s largest pit copper mine for an additional two decades.
The demonstrations, marked by roadblocks along the Pan-American Highway, have incurred daily losses upwards of $80 million to local businesses and prompted the closure of schools nationwide for over a week.
Expressing his condolences following the deadly incident, Panama President Laurentino Cortizo, stated that such violent acts hold no place in the nation’s cohesive society. This event follows a report last week in the Panamanian news of a protestor killed by a foreigner attempting to bypass a roadblock.
The Pan-American Highway, running across the entire length of 19,000 miles from Alaska to Argentina, is known to be the world’s longest route.