by Maria Jesus Corrales
A municipal police officer in La Linea died Wednesday night after he was hit by a police van while chasing a moped rider suspected of involvement in tobacco smuggling, according to La Linea’s town council.
The incident happened at around 8pm in the area of the Parque Reina Sofia and exact details of what transpired remain sketchy at this stage.
However speaking at the scene, Gabriel Cobos, the personnel councillor at La Linea town council, said early indications suggested the incident happened while Policia Local officers were trying to stop the moped rider.
“The Policia Nacional is now investigating but it appears that it was the police van that hit the police officer,” Sr Cobos said.
“We don’t know why this happened…but it seems it was the actual police van that hit officer during the pursuit.”
The deceased officer was a member of the Policia Local Rapid Reaction Unit and was 46 years old with two young children. Police liaison officers are with his family.
The moped rider fled the scene and has not been located.
La Linea town council will declare three days of official mourning for the officer and flags will fly at half mast.
The Federación de Asociaciones de Vecinos Inmaculada, a community organisation, has convened a demonstration tomorrow calling for additional police resources in La Linea.
The police officer’s death follows a string of clashes between law enforcement agencies and organised crime gangs involved in drugs and tobacco smuggling in the Campo de Gibraltar.
There is mounting concern in the Campo that officers are ill equipped to deal with increasingly aggressive gangs.