Police say 77-year-old Kenneth Darlington opened fire on protesters blocking a highway in the Chame District – roughly 55 miles west of Panama City – in a demonstration against a government mining contract.
Shocking video shared on social media and by The Times & Sunday Times appears to show the gunman arguing with the group and asking them to move before shooting two people — Abdiel Díaz Chávez, who died at the scene, and Iván Rodríguez Mendoza, who was pronounced dead at a local medical facility.
Darlington — who reportedly is a retired professor that holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Panama — faces charges of aggravated homicide and illegal possession of firearms, according to Panama-based TVN.
Panama President Nito Cortizo, in a social media post on X (formerly Twitter), expressed his condolences to the families of the two victims.
Darlington is scheduled to appear in court in Panama City next week, according to the Daily Mail.
HuffPost has reached out to the U.S. Department of State, which was not available for immediate comment.
The shooting arrives amid some of the country’s largest protests since demonstrations against the dictatorship of Manuel Noriega in the ’80s, CNN noted.
The mining contract would let a local subsidiary of a Canadian company restart a mine “surrounded by rain forest for the next” two decades, a move that environmentalists have cautioned against as they warn it could contaminate drinking water and “devastate” the land.
You can check out more of CNN’s report on the protests here.