Seventeen killed in nightclub stampede in Venezuela

Miguel Pérez Carreño hospital

Tragedy struck inside a crowded club in Venezuela's capital, Caracas, when the detonation of a tear gas device caused a stampede leading to the death of no less than 17 people.

A relative of one of the victims of the night club where a tear gas grenade was detonated waits outside the morgue in Caracas.

He said a tear gas device exploded after the fight broke out during a graduation celebration at "Los Cotorros" club, triggering the stampede.

Seven people were arrested (three pictured) based on witnesses statements, including the club owner and man accused of setting off the gas. Another son of his had been hospitalized.

The club's owner is also being questioned for not preventing weapons from being brought into the premises.

The interior ministry ordered the nightclub to be shut down and is coordinating with the public ministry to carry out the necessary investigations.

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He added that other violent incidents had taken place inside the club, which is frequently used by the Ecuadorean immigrant community for parties and political events.

"The kids couldn't leave", Mr Perdomo said. The Venezuelan Observatory of Violence estimates about 26,600 people were killed in 2017.

Party-goers were celebrating the end of the school year and several of the dead are reported to be minors.

Meanwhile, Haide Berrio, whose 17-year-old nephew was killed, said she had gone to try and find him after hearing about the commotion at the club and knowing that he was attending the party.

"I am asking for justice", she said.

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