CARTAGENA, Colombia, Nov. 12 (UPI) ─ Police in Colombia are investigating a man suspected of throwing hydrochloric acid at children because they played soccer in front of his Cartagena home.
Amaury José Vargas Rodríguez, 13, was playing soccer with his friends in Cartagena’s Ceballos district Tuesday night when a nearby neighbor allegedly poured hydrochloric acid in front of his home in an attempt to stop the children’s play.
The children did not know what the liquid was but saw it was fuming, Amaury told El Heraldo. The suspect allegedly held the soccer ball and made Amaury step forward to get it back before pouring the liquid.
“When I approached the zone for the ball, I did not notice what was there and when I stepped on the liquid my feet felt itchy and I immediately poured water,” Amaury said.
Noticias Caracol reported at least two other children, aged 8 and 4, were also injured.
The Metropolitan Police of Cartagena have launched an investigation into the aggression toward a minor but although Amaury’s family condemned the incident, they have not filed a formal complaint to authorities.
Neighbors said the man has a history of violent aggression when reacting to normal, community happenings, such as child’s play or neighbors talking.
“We are worried here in the neighborhood because this man cannot be passed many times, not even in his front porch,” Amaury’s aunt, Iraldis Hurtado, told El Heraldo. “It’s a person who does not tolerate anything and has become a threat to the peaceful coexistence of our street.”
Amaury sustained mild burns to his feet and was treated at a nearby clinic with acetaminophen and antibiotics. Cartagena’s police said the man accused in the acid incident is the father of a police agent.
Cartagena’s Police for Children and Adolescents are urging the family or community to file a formal complaint against the man in order to expedite criminal proceedings, which may help prevent similar events from happening in the future.
“With the Police for Children and Adolescents, the attacker is being investigated, because, although there is still no complaint about the attack, if verified it will be brought before the courts,” Gen. Carlos Rodriguez Cortes, commander of the Metropolitan Police of Cartagena, told El Tiempo, adding it would be “outrageous” that the community not denounce such attacks on minors.