HAVANA, May 1thy (AFP) Authorities have arrested and identified a Texas man who allegedly fired multiple rounds with AK-47 at the the Cuban Embassy in Washington D.C., with police investigating it as a ‘suspected hate crime’.
The DC Metropolitan Police Department identified 42-year-old Alexander Alazo of Aubrey, Texas, as the suspect.
Alazo allegedly fired multiple rounds from a high-powered assault rifle leaving the embassy’s facade riddled with bullet holes.
Authorities say they found him with the weapon at the scene.
‘This morning at approximately 2:15 am, US Secret Service officers responded to the Embassy of Cuba following reports of shots fired,’ the Secret Service said in a statement.
‘One individual was arrested for being in possession of an unregistered firearm as well as unregistered ammunition, assault with the intent to kill, and possession of a high capacity feed device.
Alexander Alazo was arrested Thursday morning after reportedly opening fire at the Cuban Embassy in Washington D.C. (pictured)
Although no one was injured, bullet holes were seen on the Cuban Embassy’s exterior walls and windows (pictured)
Pictured: bullet holes in the exterior of the Cuban Embassy and a shattered light bulb
‘No injuries were reported at the scene.’
A police report obtained by The Associated Press describes the shooting as a ‘suspected hate crime’ and says Alazo ‘knowingly discharged multiple rounds from an AK-47 rifle into the Cuban Embassy.’
But the report also says Alazo´s motivation is unknown.
Local media reported that Alazo fired around 30 shots at the Cuban Embassy.
Washington’s police department confirmed the incident but said an investigation was in the hands of the Secret Service, which often handles investigations involving foreign diplomats.
The Cuban Embassy released a statement, translated from Spanish, that WUSA 9 reports that their building had sustained damage.
Photos from the scene show bullet holes in the walls and windows of the building.
‘There was no damage to the mission’s personnel, who are safe and protected, but there was material damage to the building resulting from the impact of the shooting,’ they wrote.
The Washington Post said that neighbors reported on the app Nextdoor that they had heard gunshots and screaming .
A Nissan Pathfinder parked outside the Cuban Embassy became the focus of intense investigation, as officers blocked it off with caution tape and photographed the vehicle.
A black jacket and what was thought to be a blanket were found on the ground next to the driver’s side door.
It’s unclear how or if the Nissan Pathfinder was involved in the incident.
The embassy, located on 16th Street at the edge of the Adams Morgan neighborhood, a normally bustling area full of bars and restaurants but which has been stilled by the coronavirus shutdown.
The administration of President Donald Trump has chilled relations with Havana, reversing course after an opening initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama.
In October 2017, Trump’s administration expelled 15 Cuban diplomats after a rash of incidents in which US embassy staff in Cuba reported as yet unexplained head pains, dizziness and hearing loss.
However, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized countries like South Africa for accepting Cuban doctors to help battle coronavirus.
He claimed the doctors from Cuba only benefit their government and urged them to defect immediately.
‘We’ve noticed how the regime in Havana has taken advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to continue its exploitation of Cuban medical workers,’ he said.