TWITTERThe dead and injured were taken to the nearby Miguel Pérez Carreño hospital
18 June, 2018, 23:27
At least 17 people have suffocated to death at a party at a Caracas club when a person activated a tear gas device inside, Venezuela's interior minister Nestor Reverol has confirmed.
The deaths occurred after a brawl broke out during a middle school graduation party and someone detonated the tear gas, sending more than 500 people rushing for the exits, said Interior and Justice Minister Nestor Reverol. Eight of those people who died were under the age of 18-years-old and another five people remain injured, according to Reverol.
Outside the club, several mismatched shoes lay on the sidewalk.
Family members have reportedly said that the main doors were closed and many fell down on top of each other as they tried to escape.
'The establishment has been ordered closed, and we are investigating in coordination with the public ministry, which is directing the criminal investigation'.
"All I know is my son is dead", Nilson Guerra, a 43, told local journalists. Jesus Armas, an opposition councilman who lives close by, said the government should explain how a civilian had a tear gas grenade that should only be used by security forces.
Authorities said non-governmental groups inflate figures to create paranoia and tarnish President Nicolás Maduro's socialist government.
Authorities have also arrested the owner of the nightclub for not having measures to stop these kinds of weapons from being brought inside the building.
"The kids couldn't leave", Mr Perdomo said.
Homicide rates in Venezuela shot up during the country's spiral into economic crisis and political meltdown, and many Caracas residents refuse to go out at night.