Monica Spear, former Miss Venezuela, and her Irish husband
Thomas Henry Berry were shot dead after an attempted
robbery. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom/Files
Assailants have shot dead a former Miss Venezuela and her
ex-husband in the latest high-profile case of violent crime in
the South American nation, authorities said.
Monica Spear, 29, who was also a soap opera actress, and
Henry Berry, 39, died in an attempted robbery on the highway
between Puerto Cabello and Valencia in central Venezuela.
The 2004 Miss Venezuela winner lived in the United States but
was vacationing in Venezuela. The pair's 5-year-old daughter
survived the attack late on Monday, but with a bullet wound
in her leg, the government and local media said.
Reports indicated Spear's car may have broken down before
armed robbers approached - a common occurrence on roads after
dark in one of the world's most violent nations.
Showbiz colleagues were devastated.
"I'm so sad for my Venezuela, my condolences for Monica
Spear's family. Rage and impotence are what I feel right
now," wrote Venezuelan salsa singer Oscar D'Leon on Twitter.
Venezuela's official homicide rate late year was 39 per
100,000 inhabitants, but local non-government organizations
put the figure at nearly twice that for a total of 24,000
President Nicolas Maduro has declared beating violent crime
his No. 1 priority, and polls consistently show it to be
Venezuelans' main concern.
But opponents say the government's anti-crime plans are not
tackling root causes, such as impunity for criminals, corrupt
courts and police complicity in some crime.