Homicide, Violence and Medellín

blood, homicide, medellin, colombia
Bloodstains on the tarmac at the scene of a shooting and double homicide in the Belén Alpes area of Medellín. A mother, perhaps in her 40s, and her son (25), were the victims. Around 11 cartridges were found at the scene, but the bodies had been despatched in taxis to the hospital where they were pronounced dead on arrival.
Belén, Alpes.
These pictures were for a piece Medellin’s efforts against crime prove fleeting by Juan Forero in The Washington Post.

At the time, the 13th Commune was experiencing an outburst of fighting between gangs and whole neighbourhoods had been displaced. The Army was patrolling the streets whilst the schoolkids whizzed by on their way home. Washing lines, french poodles and fresh-faced soldiers. White flags - for peace - wavered in the wind over the unabandoned houses.

The mayor of Medellín was Ánibal Gaviria. Medellín had been garlanded "The World's Most Innovative City" by a gaggle of institutions, amongst them the Wall Street Journal (the publication that later dedicated one of its editorials to why Álvaro Uribe should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize).

Winning is infectious, and Medellín was a finalist to host the 2018 Youth Olympics. Apparently, the vote was coming up sometime soon. There seemed to be a general consensus that it was essential for the city's homicide figures to stay low. We sat through the night with the SIJIN and the CTI on the homicide watch. And the once unthinkable happened: there were no homicides! Later, I did return to sit out the nightwatch with the SIJIN and was reminded that homicides, whilst fewer than previously, do happen with quite depressing frequency. The first pickup was a double homicide in the evening, on the tarmac of a non-descript road. A mother and her adult son. 11 shots. No witnesses. The victims had been taken from scene in taxis to the nearest hospital, Las Americas, where they were pronounced dead on arrival. Later, at night, a sixteen year-old