ESMAD shooting leaves student in critical condition

By Emma Newbery November 23, 2019

Young protestor Dilan Cruz was struck by a grenade on Saturday night, leaving him fighting for his life.

UPDATE: San Ignacio hospital have announced that Dilan passed away in the evening of November 25.

People pay respect to Dilan where the shooting took place. Photo: Oli Pritchard.

An 18-year-old student is in critical condition tonight after being shot by ESMAD riot police on the third day of the national protests.

After he was resuscitated at the scene, Dilan Cruz was taken to the San Ignacio hospital where his condition is described as critical but stable. The most recent medical report at the time of writing (9.30 pm) stated that Dilan had suffered a penetrating head trauma and his neurological status is still uncertain due to secondary effects following resuscitation. 

His blood remains on the tarmac at Calle 19 with Carrera 4 where he was shot and people have been leaving flowers and candles at the scene in the centre of the city. A minute’s silence was held during the evening’s cacerolazo in several parts of the capital. At 9pm, a large crowd gathered at the site in a candlelit homage.

Candles are being around the place where Dylan Cruz was shot.
Candles are being around the place where Dilan Cruz was shot. Photo: Heinner Rodríguez

According to media reports, Dilan had recently graduated from Colegio Ricaurte and was marching for the right to access an ICETEX loan so that he could go on to study administration at university. That dream may now never be realised.

Read more on Colombia’s national strike:
Dilan Cruz, face of a generation
Sin Violencia – A first person account to the protest

Follow all our coverage on the national strike

Various videos on social media show police shooting the young man from the other side of the road, in what appears to be an indiscriminate act. His friend told Semana that they were trying to get away from the tear gas when it happened – about 4pm today.

Speaking outside the hospital, the capital’s mayor-elect Claudia López told reporters that the doctors are doing everything they can. “The whole city is thinking of Dilan and his health,” she said. “He’s in the best possible hands.”

When asked about the protests and the actions of ESMAD, López said she rejected all forms of violence and stressed the need for dialogue. “The object of these peaceful protests is not disorder, it’s dialogue,” she said.

The Attorney General has opened a disciplinary investigation into the case.