Attempted Assasination Of Argentine VP Fails When Handgun Jams

Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner survived an assassination attempt outside her home Thursday night in Beunos Aires when the would-be gunman’s pistol apparently misfired.

President Alberto Fernandez, no relation to the vice president, said the man “pointed a firearm at her head and pulled the trigger.” In a national broadcast, he said the handgun was loaded with five bullets but did not go off when the trigger was pulled.

The attempted assassin was overpowered within seconds by the vice president’s security. Fernandez was president of Argentina from 2007 to 2015 and the first lady for four years before that.

She faces trial for alleged corruption during the presidential period. Supporters had surrounded her home in the Buenos Aires suburb to rally behind Fernandez.

Last week a prosecutor called for Fernandez to receive a 12-year sentence for corruption and to be barred from holding political office.

The gunman has been identified as 35-year-old Brazilian Fernando Andre Sabag Montiel. He was overpowered and taken into custody. Reports say he has an Argentine mother and has lived in the country since 1993. He was arrested in 2021 for carrying a knife.

Video from the scene showed Fernandez exiting her vehicle into a crowd of supporters. It was then that the gunman appeared with his pistol extended and almost touching her face.

A witness described hearing the click of the pistol’s trigger and the vice president can be seen ducking afterwards.

Argentina’s president declared Friday a national holiday for the country to express their solidarity with the vice president and “defense of life and democracy.”

Former President Mauricio Macri, a conservative opponent of Fernandez, denounced the attack as “a serious event (that) demands an immediate and profound clarification.” He called on the judiciary and security forces to explain the events of Thursday night.

Cabinet ministers released a joint statement condemning the attempted assassination as a threat to “democracy, institutions and the rule of law.”

The upscale Recoleta neighborhood where Fernandez lives has been the scene of tension for days after her supporters clashed with law enforcement. After the incident, the strong police force around her residence was reduced.