A police officer who shot dead the man who stabbed a US tourist in the La Boca neighbourhood last December was welcomed to Government House on Thursday for a 30-minute meeting with President Mauricio Macri.
Macri was joined by Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, who defended Avallenada city police officer Luis Chocobar.
“We’re going to look after those who look after us”, she said, adding: “Agent Chocobar acted according to his duty (as a police officer)”.
Chocobar received bail on Wednesday after a brief stint in preventative detention. He is under investigation for the death of 18-year-old Pablo Kukoc, whom he shot and killed as Kukoc and an accomplice stabbed US tourist Frank Joseph Wolek, allegedly attempting to steal Wolek’s belongings.
The case shocked La Boca residents because of the proximity of the crime to the El Caminito tourist strip, an economic lifeline for the south-side porteño neighbourhood.
Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta also chimed in on the case Thursday, telling his Twitter followers: “Another case in which the Judiciary acts in defence of the criminals and not the safety of residents”.
Macri's meeting with Chocobar is a big move for the government since such a show of support for a man popularly considered a hero contrasts with the administration's general rhetoric that it does not and should not meddle with ongoing Judicial investigations.
On a number of occasions, Macri himself has denied claims that his government has pressured judges, for instance, presiding over cases that involve former Kirchner government officials.
Chocobar was not on duty at the time of the incident. Wolek, who received 10 stab wounds, survived the attack and has since returned to the United States.