SPAIN

Spanish police hold pair over revenge shooting of Leon council leader

Shooting of council leader revenge for sacking of younger woman, Spanish police believe

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2014, 9:07pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2014, 9:07pm
AFP

Share

Spanish police have arrested a mother and daughter suspected of shooting dead a ruling party politician in broad daylight in apparent revenge after the younger woman lost her job.

The wife and daughter of a police inspector were arrested on suspicion of gunning down Isabel Carrasco, conservative leader of the provincial council in Leon, northern Spain.

Carrasco's body was found on a pedestrian bridge over the Bernesga River in the northern university city.

The killing of Carrasco, 59, a longtime local leader of the governing Popular Party (PP), shocked the Spanish political world and halted their European election campaigns.

Officials said an assailant fired several bullets at Carrasco and two women were being questioned over the killing.

"It seems that the daughter was fired yesterday from the council where she worked as an engineer," an interior ministry spokesman said. "For that reason, everything indicates that it was personal vengeance," he said. "The gun has not been found."

A man who was walking by the river at the time said he heard five shots as he passed under the footbridge. "We thought it was firecrackers. At that time the place was full of people, children playing, people walking their dogs," he said.

Spain has seen many political killings over its history, but the interior ministry said Carrasco's did not look politically motivated.

Numerous PP officials were assassinated in the 1990s and early 2000s in killings blamed on the Basque separatist group ETA, which announced an end to violence in 2011.

"Everything points to it being a personal act of vengeance unrelated to her public position," an interior ministry spokeswoman said.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he was "dismayed by the murder of Isabel Carrasco".

Besides being head of the Leon provincial council, Carrasco was also leader of the party for Leon province.

A lawyer by training, Carrasco was born in the province of Leon and held various provincial and regional posts.

The local newspaper Diario de Leon described her as a "powerful character".

"Despite her small size, her very strong character and the way she took the reins of power caused her to be known as the 'super-delegate'," it wrote. "It was precisely this character and the power she accumulated that earned her numerous political rivals."

Since taking office in 2011 the Popular Party has imposed sharp government spending cuts to rein in the public deficit at a time when one in four is out of work, sparking noisy street protests.