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Police search for suspect who went on shooting spree in Albacete town

Expert gunman “obsessed with 13-year-old” confesses to killing girl and another victim before fleeing

A police helicopter flies over the countryside around El Salobral.
A police helicopter flies over the countryside around El Salobral.CRISTÓBAL MANUEL

The alleged killer of a 13-year-old girl and a 40-year-old man in a town near Albacete on Saturday has allegedly confessed to law enforcement authorities by telephone that he committed the crimes.

Civil Guard officers continued their search for the suspect, Juan Carlos Alfaro, 39, who also reportedly wounded another man in the series of shootings that occurred in El Salobral, about 14 kilometers south of Albacete. Alfaro, who is said to be a shooting enthusiast and a hunter, fled the scene with two firearms, including a pistol, which he holds a license to carry.

According to authorities, Alfaro was obsessed with the girl, Almudena, whom he shot dead on a street in El Salobral. After he fled the scene, he came across Agustín Delicado, an unemployed trucker, who was smoking a cigarette at the front door of his home. Delicado was also gunned down by Alfaro.

Afterwards, police say, the suspect ran into the girl’s grandfather, who was shot in the arm but was only slightly wounded. Authorities said they found more than a dozen bullet casings at the scenes of the three shootings.

Almudena was walking in the street around 7.30pm on Saturday when Alfaro appeared and shot her four times before fleeing the scene. The girl was killed instantly. Delicado, who didn’t want to fill his home with smoke because his mother was sick, happened to be in front of the house when Alfaro passed. He too was killed instantly after he was shot in the face.

Police believe that Alfaro fled on foot because his vehicle was later found nearby. More than 40 officers, several sniffer dogs and a helicopter were combing the area outside the town, where authorities believe he is hiding.

He told her he loved her but look how he has protected her”

At press time, police had sealed the town and Mayor Ángel Sánchez asked the 1,400 citizens not to leave their homes for their safety until Alfaro is arrested. Sánchez said that on Saturday night he and other town officials had to accompany many frightened residents to their homes.

The suspect, who is known by his nickname “El Fraguel,” is described as “a normal man” and an unemployed mechanic who is an experienced hunter and member of a local hunting group. The reasons why Alfaro went on a shooting rampage are unclear. Authorities do know that he was obsessed with the 13-year-old girl and had been following her for weeks. It is not certain whether he had or tried to have a relationship with her.

Neighbors reported that the girl’s family was totally against any relationship between Alfaro and the teenager and they had tried to avoid seeing him or running into him in the streets.

“He burst her open, he burst her open. My poor little girl,” said Adela, the dead girl’s mother who was waiting for forensic officials to conclude the autopsy so that she could bury her daughter.

She told reporters on Sunday that she had filed several complaints against Alfaro, who also lived in El Salobral with his parents.

“He told her that he was in love with her and wanted to be with her. But look how he has protected her,” said Jose, a cousin of the girl’s grandmother. She added that Alfaro had begun to see her about two years ago.

Authorities believe that Alfaro is hiding out somewhere in the fields and is armed. Police were combing all the surrounding areas at press time.

Witnesses said they heard a round of gunfire and screams and cries from people soon after Alfaro fled. “When we tried to go outside to see what was happening, the police arrived quickly and yelled at us to get back inside,” said one neighbor who lives near the scene of the shootings.

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