I want to share with you a tragic crime that happened in Chile on July 2, 2017. That day, the attention of the country was torn between the presidential primary elections and the final football match of the Confederations Cup that was being played against Germany. While this happened, a man decided to kill two innocent people and severely injure four others.
Shootings are very rare in Chile. When they happen, it’s usually gang or drug related, and those happen in neighborhoods where poverty and crime are a predominant reality. I can’t remember a case in which a common citizen would take a gun somewhere and start killing people, and our gun laws are strict enough that not anyone can get a hold of a gun.
On the day in question, a Sunday, a man called Osvaldo Campos Azocar (42) was in a local hotel casino, one of the main ones in the country. He’d been staying at the hotel since Friday night, and had been gambling a lot of money. At around noon, he bet 2,100 dollars in the roulette. He lost. It was his final bet, and his losses that weekend reached a total of 27,000 dollars. So Campos calmly got up from the table, took out a gun from his pocket, and started shooting. 25 rounds in total. It was all caught in the security cameras.
He instantly killed Oscar Reyes (36), a manager. His second fatal victim was Carolina Carreño (33). She was a croupier, and that day was her birthday. While she was dying in that casino, her two kids, family and friends were waiting for her at home to celebrate her birthday.
Campos then locked himself in a bathroom, where he refused to answer police and negotiators. In the same bathroom there was a security guard, unarmed, who locked himself in a cubicle and tried not to breathe so he wouldn’t alert of his presence. Cops were afraid to go in, in case he hurt the guard, but after almost 5 hours passed in silence, they went in and found Campos dead.
Osvaldo Campos was a vet. I’d heard of him before, several times. I’ve read complaints about his vet clinic, that he charged too high and had unethical practices, such as locking a client in his office if they didn’t pay. Some people even accused him of putting down a couple of pets after their owners failed to pay his bills. He had been expelled from the Veterinary College a month before. He had arrest orders against him and had been violent to an ex girlfriend. He obviously had gambling issues. He wasn’t a good man.
Campos didn’t shoot himself. Instead, he chose a much more painless way to go, a kindness to himself that he didn’t think of giving his victims. He injected himself with the same drug he used to euthanize animals in his practice. The fact that he brought this and the gun to the casino, makes authorities think this was all premeditated and not a spur of the moment thing.
Carolina Carreño was a close friend of one of my good friends. I never met her, but I’ve seen the devastation her random death caused in her loved ones. So please, whenever you decide to talk about a mass shooting and especially make excuses for the killers, keep in mind the victims, innocent people that happened to cross ithe path of someone who decided to take their anger and issues against the world in the worst possible way.