A Carnival Tragedy in Las Palmas

22 year old Jhonatan Orozco Calderón, originally from Columbia, died on Monday, March 6, due to a blow to the head in the early hours of Saturday March 5, after being aggressively attacked at the end of the parade for this years Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Carnival. He was treated and diagnosed at the Hospital Dr. Negrín of Gran Canaria, but only as a case of alcohol intoxication, according to Europa Press who spoke to health department sources.

The victim,was assaulted during the early morning of March 5 by two people, one of Spanish nationality and one Italian, and after brief treatment and observation he was discharged, but he died the following morning at his aunt’s house as a result, say official sources, of a Blow to the head that occurred after he was punched to the ground and repeatedly kicked, in what is thought to have been an unprovoked attack.

The same sources say the young man arrived at the hospital through the Red Cross health services with “suspected cranioencephalic trauma ” although physicians from the emergency department say that no “aggression” was detailed or outlined to them.

Once at the hospital an analysis was performed where it was verified that the young man had high levels of alcohol in his blood, as well as showing positive for cannabinoids .

On-call health staff say they had no information regarding the assault, and no evidence was provided for the possible craniocephalic trauma. So, Jhonatan Orozco was attended to simply for alcohol intoxication, that is to say, “vulgar drunkenness”, and after a few hours in observation, he was discharged. The victim left the hospital to go to his aunt’s house, where he died the next day while he slept.

When this information from health sources was reported to, Johanna Gutierrez , the deceased’s aunt, she showed great discomfort at not having been given better information from official sources; telling reporters “We have not been well informed about anything… We want justice and that those responsible pay.”

“My nephew loved carnival and did not like fights, now I only ask that they pay for what they have done, this time it was my nephew, but next year it could be anyone,” said Gutierrez.

According to the aunt’s account, the assault occurred at about 3:30 am on the Sunday morning. Jhonatan, who came to live with his grandmother on Gran Canaria when he was only five years old, had gone to the parade with friends. He had dressed as a painter, and had walked from San Telmo to the Santa Catalina Park, following the floats. There, his friends said goodbye and he was left alone. According to witnesses, two boys suddenly punched him and knocked him down. And when he was on the ground, he was kicked in the face and head, until he was unconscious.

“There had been no previous conversation,” said the boys aunt, who much appreciates the help he received from those present. Shortly afterwards he was taken to Dr. Negrín Hospital . “I did not recognize him myself at first,” says the aunt, who reports that staff injected him with painkillers and gave him three stitches and staples to close the wounds.

“My love, it hurts,” Jhonatan said when he was still hospitalised. At noon on Sunday he was discharged . “When he was having lunch he kept saying that his head and chest hurt.” At six in the afternoon he went to tell the police about what happened . After going to the police station, he returned to the house of another aunt, in Escaleritas, where he stayed to sleep.

At nine o’clock on Monday morning they went to wake him up, because he had to go to testify at the court at 11.30. But they discovered that he had died while he slept. His family alerted the emergency services, but they could do nothing for him.

“We want these two people to pay,” his aunt, Johanna Gutiérrez, told reporters “they beat him mercilessly and they killed him, and they should end up in jail,” she said as she watched over the body of the young man, who had resided in Calle Diego Betancor.

“This is a tragedy, I hope justice is done, he was beaten up and beaten up because he was alone at the time. He was someone who did not like fights and enjoyed every carnival and was very polite, always smiling and was very family oriented; always at home with his uncles and cousins,” mourned Gutiérrez, who insists that her nephew’s case could happen to anyone, saying “this can not be allowed to happen at a fiesta like the carnival”.

National Police detained two people linked to the beating. The aggressors were two men who respond to the initials of FB and JCMG, aged 24 and 29 years of age, one Italian and one Spanish, respectively, both with no previous police record.

Several witnesses from the area gave a detailed physical description of the men, who for now been released with charges for the crime of reckless homicide and injury .

Jhonatan’s death has led to an outpouring of grief from the people of Gran Canaria, many of whom have expressed deep shame that such a thing could happen, particularly unprovoked, at one of the biggest celebrations of the year, and in one of the safest cities in the world.

Many have expressed shock that such a thing could occur anywhere in The Canary Islands. Many Canarians have denounced the crime as unacceptable and expressed the deepest sympathy and solidarity with Jhonatan’s family and friends, who are unexpectedly grieving.

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