Quadruple-murder rekindles problem of crime in Puerto Rico

San Juan, May 6 (EFE).- A quadruple-murder over the weekend raised to 296 the number of violent deaths in Puerto Rico so far this year.

Three of the fatalities of Friday night's attack in the interior town of Aguas Buenas had no connection to the apparent target, 32-year-old reputed drug dealer Luis Gonzalez, a suspect in a number of murders.

Six other bystanders were wounded.

Aguas Buenas Mayor Luis Arroyo called on drug dealers and their associates on Monday to avoid public areas.

Police said the four deaths in the multiple killing raised last weekend's toll of violent deaths to 11 in Puerto Rico, 20 fewer than on the same dates last year.

The chief of detectives in the Caguas district, Capt. Carlos Cruz, said the quadruple-murder is probably linked to the slaying last Wednesday in Aguas Buenas of another drug suspect.

Residents of Aguas Buenas, a town of slightly more than 28,000 inhabitants, commemorated Monday one of the innocent victims of last Friday's shooting, Manuel Fernandez Manzueta, a 54-year-old Dominican immigrant who had been living there for close to 25 years.

The incident has rekindled the subject of crime in the streets of Puerto Rico, where it is more common than ever for multiple killings to be perpetrated in broad daylight.

At the beginning of April, four people died during a gun battle between occupants of two cars on the Jose de Diego freeway.

Most of the average of 10 homicides per weekend in Puerto Rico are the result of a settling of scores between gangs for control of drug corners.