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Dominican Cabinet Member Shot and Killed in Office

FILE - Dominican Secretary for Commerce and Industry Sonia Guzman, right, talks to the media accompanied by Orlando Jorge Mera, at the presidential palace in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, March 16, 2004.

A Cabinet minister in the Dominican Republic was shot and killed in his office Monday, officials in the country said.

Dominican authorities said Orlando Jorge Mera, minister of the environment and natural resources, was allegedly shot by his childhood friend Miguel Cruz, who is in police custody.

“Our family forgives the person who did this. One of Orlando's greatest legacies was to not hold grudges," Jorge’s family said in a statement.

No motive for the shooting has been given.

"We are troubled by the situation," Jorge’s ministry said in a brief statement.

Bartolomé Pujals, executive director of the government's Cabinet of Innovation, lamented the killing.

"His death is a tragedy," Pujals said. "We Dominicans have to come together to achieve a pact for peace and peaceful coexistence. No more violence."

Jorge, the son of former Dominican President Salvador Jorge Blanco, had been minister of the environment and natural resources since August 2020.

No further details are available.

Some information in this report comes from The Associated Press.