Former Peru President Alan Garcia takes his own life after police arrive to arrest him

World Today

A woman sells photos and a keychain featuring Peru’s late President Alan Garcia outside his party’s headquarters before the start of his wake in Lima, Peru, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. Garcia shot himself in the head and died Wednesday as officers waited to arrest him in a massive graft probe that has put the country’s most prominent politicians behind bars and provoked a reckoning over corruption. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

Three days of national mourning are underway in Peru – after former president Alan Garcia took his own life.

Garcia, shot himself as police were getting ready to arrest him at his home.

The lifelong politician was under investigation as part of Latin America’s largest corruption scandal. But he maintained his innocence until the end.

CGTN’s Dan Collyns reports from Lima.

Hundreds of supporters mourned the death of one of Peru’s biggest political figures in recent decades. Many singing the anthem of Garcia’s political party.

Supporters of two-time former president Alan Garcia stand vigil outside the hospital to where he was rushed early this morning.

A 27-strong medical team – including and intensive care specialists – tried in vain to save his life. Garcia shot himself when police officers tried to arrest him at his home on Wednesday.

Prosecutors investigating the vast Odebrecht corruption scandal had ordered Garcia be taken into preliminary detention.

while they probed whether he received multi-million dollar bribes from the Brazilian firm in his 2006 to 2011 presidential term.

Authorities said Garcia had asked to call his lawyer, then shut himself in his bedroom and a shot was heard.

Garcia denied wrongdoing in an interview just a day earlier on Tuesday.

“I am sure that an investigation and a judicial process will demonstrate in the end what is the truth in all of this,” Garcia said.

He is one of four former Peruvian presidents being investigated as part of Latin America’s biggest corruption scandal.

Last week, former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was placed under 10-day detention as part of a money-laundering investigation linked to Odebrecht.

Garcia unsuccessfully claimed political asylum in the Uruguayan embassy last year claiming persecution.

“The president opted for honor and dignity faced with the fascist persecution against several political leaders, not just against us, which we’ve seen in our country,” Lawmaker Mauricio Mulder said.

That claim was echoed by Garcia’s supporters. “They wanted to see him handcuffed, and he preferred death rather than dishonor.

Another supporter said, “He has been persecuted for more than 30 years without them ever having proved anything. It’s a shame that this government and the prosecutors office chased him in this way.”

Garcia began his first term in 1985 as Peru’s youngest president. It ended in economic meltdown and a security crisis.

He was re-elected in 2006 when he faced a leftist candidate. That term ended in 2011 with multiple accusations of corruption. Dan Collyns, CGTN, Lima.