Man uses toxic powder to kill ex-partner, himself in Colombia mall

Six other people, including police officers, hospital workers and mall visitors are said to have fallen ill from contact with the substance. PHOTO: AFP

BOGOTA - A man in Colombia used an unidentified toxic powder to murder his former partner in a shopping mall, killing himself and sickening bystanders, police and medical staff treating them, officials said on Thursday.

Luis Carlos Aguirre 67, on Wednesday sought out his ex-partner Maryori Munoz, 40, at a shopping centre near Medellin where she worked at a beauty salon, local security secretary Mariano Atehortua reported.

Munoz left her workplace to meet Aguirre – who had allegedly been harassing her – but returned within minutes calling for help, Mr Atehortua told Blu Radio.

Mall officials, medical personnel and police treated Munoz at the scene and transferred her to a hospital, where she died.

The hospital “informed us that her corneas were completely destroyed, as well as her airways, said the security official.

Aguirre himself suffered “respiratory arrest,” added Mr Atehortua.

A fire department officer, two police members, two hospital workers and two other people in the mall fell ill from contact with the substance, he said.

Their symptoms included nausea, vomiting and headaches, though all were in a stable condition.

The nature of the substance is unknown, said Mr Atehortua.

Two contaminated floors of the mall have been sealed off.

Femicides are common in Colombia, with 100 cases reported last year in the country of 50 million people, according to official data.

An NGO tracking such killings said the figure was over 600. AFP

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