The would-be assassin who allegedly fired a gun at Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner had 100 bullets stashed in his home when police raided following the shock attack.
Fernando Andres Sabag Montiel, a 35-year-old Brazilian, was taken into custody after he was filmed pointing the loaded gun at Fernandez de Kirchner’s face outside his Buenos Aires home on Thursday night.
The suspect pulled the trigger on the Argentinian-made 32-caliber Bersa 380 pistol but failed to discharge, officials said.
“A man pointed a gun to his head and fired. Cristina is alive for a still uncertain technical reason. The pistol, which contained five bullets, did not explode even though the trigger was pulled,” President Alberto Fernandez said.
When cops later raided Montiel’s residence, they discovered his huge stash of bullets, police sources told local newspaper La Nacion.
Montiel, who was previously cited for possession of a knife last year, had rented rooms throughout Buenos Aires and worked as a driver before the attack, the sources added.
Authorities are still trying to determine the motive for the failed assassination attempt on Fernandez de Kirchner – who has long been a divisive figure in Argentina and is currently facing potential corruption charges.
Fernandez de Kirchner, who has yet to speak publicly about the ordeal, was pictured leaving her home and greeting supporters on Friday after a visit from President Fernandez.
The vice president was surrounded by security personnel and interacting closely with the hundreds of supporters gathered near her home when the assassination attempt unfolded around 9 p.m. Thursday.
Footage showed the attacker walking through the crowd and closing in on Fernandez de Kirchner before waving the gun in his face. The veep could be seen crouching down and covering his face with his hands as the suspect was quickly carried away.
The weapon was found a few meters away, police said.
Politicians on all sides in Argentina were quick to condemn the attack, which came as political tensions continue to rise in the country amid a lingering economic crisis fueled by debt and inflation. .
“This is the most serious event we have gone through since Argentina’s return to democracy,” President Fernandez said in a televised address, referring to the end of military rule in 1983.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also issued a statement on Friday condemning the attack, saying, “We stand with the government and people of Argentina in rejecting violence and hatred.”
Meanwhile, Miguel Angel Pichetto, a prominent lawmaker, quickly called for an investigation into how the suspect even approached the vice president as she drove home.
“There needs to be an investigation into how this topic came so close. What happened to his safety? Pichetto told local TV station TN. “You have to assess why she was so alone at the time, that the person could come almost face to face.”
Crowds gather daily outside Fernandez de Kirchner’s home amid the ongoing corruption probe she faces over an alleged scheme to embezzle public funds while she was president between 2007 and 2015.
Last month, a prosecutor requested that Fernandez de Kirchnera – who has denied any wrongdoing – be sentenced to 12 years in prison.
With post wires