The 'angel' of Guatemala: 12-year-old chooses death over gang violence

The 'angel' of Guatemala: 12-year-old chooses death over gang violence

 Credit: Pietro Izzo via Flickr. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Credit: Pietro Izzo via Flickr. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

.- When 12-year-old Ángel Ariel Escalante Pérez was confronted by gang members demanding that he kill a bus driver in Guatemala, he said no.

It turned out to a life or death decision.

The gang members threatened to kill Angel if he did not murder the bus driver. He refused to do so and was thrown off a bridge.

Angel was found in critical condition on June 18, around 1 p.m. He was discovered below the Belice bridge in Guatemala City by a group of neighbors from the Jesús de la Buena Esperanza (Jesus of Good Hope) settlement.

Some six gang members threw him from the bridge, according to local media. The medics heard him say, “They wanted me to kill a driver and they threw me from the bridge.”

Javier Soto, spokesman for the city firemen, commented that the branches of the trees and the underbrush in the area cushioned the Angel’s fall. He suffered two fractured legs.

The fall was more than 400 feet, Soto said. “Usually people who are thrown off or who jump off the bridge don’t survive.”

A picture of Angel being embraced by his father after he was found was posted on social media.

After 15 days in intensive care, Angel died at the Saint John of God General Hospital.

The young boy was in the 6th grade at Carlos Benjamín Paíz Ayala School, located near where he was thrown off the bridge. He liked drawing, music and soccer.

After a funeral wake in Guatemala, he was taken to Managua, Nicaragua, where he was buried next to his uncle, who was murdered in 2007.

Tags: Violence, Guatemala, Sacrifice, Gang