Panama defender Gilberto Hernández shot and killed at age of 26 | Panama

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Panama defender Gilberto Hernández has died after being shot in the city of Colón on Sunday, the Panama Football League said in a statement.

Hernández played for Club Atlético Independiente de La Chorrera and made two international appearances after making his debut in March. His last club game came on 23 August, a 3-1 victory over Real Estelí FC in the Central American Cup.

“The Panamanian Football League regrets the sad loss of Gilberto Hernández, a player for Club Atlético Independiente, in an isolated act of violence in the city of Colón, which also left several injured,” the league said in the statement.

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The Panama federation also issued a statement.

“The Panamanian Football Federation regrets the sad passing of Gilberto Hernandez…,” it posted on social media. “[We] extend condolences to his family and loved ones, as well as to the entire CAI and Panamanian football family.”

Hernández was with friends on a street in central Colón when attackers in a taxi opened fire, according to police. Seven other people were wounded in the attack. A suspect has been arrested.

In a statement on Monday, the national police confirmed the “apprehension of a citizen suspected of the murder of a football player, which occurred on Sunday … in the province of Colón.”

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Panama’s Colón province, with a population of about 300,000, recorded 102 homicides last year, nine fewer than the year before, according to government data. Authorities blame much of the violence on competing drug gangs.

In 2017 another Panama international, midfielder Amílcar Henríquez, was shot to death in Colón province. He was a member of the squad that qualified for the 2018 World Cup.

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