Police rescue four alleged thieves from lynch mob
National police arrived just in time to save four men accused of assaulting a resident in Cuenca’s Virgen del Milagro neighborhood Sunday night. The four, including a 16-year-old, were beaten by friends and neighbors of the victim.
“If they had come five minutes later, we would have killed at least one of them,” a resident told Radio Tomebamba.
According to police, the man who was assaulted was walking on Av. Ordóñez Lasso near De la Grevilla, when the attack occurred. Two of his neighbors witnessed the attack, summoned neighbors and surrounded and began beating the four men.
The 16-year-old reportedly pulled a pistol and fired into the air but he was quickly subdued by the neighbors who were beating him when police arrived.
The four alleged thieves were arrested and jailed. Police say they confiscated the gun and an ammunition belt.
The practice of lynching — the detaining, beating and sometimes killing of those accused of crimes — by private citizens continues in much of Latin America, although the incidences have dropped in recent years. In 1972, 143 people were killed by lynch mobs in Ecuador, many of them by burning. In 2016, seven were killed.