A Venezuelan police officer stole a helicopter and dropped as many as four grenades on the country’s Supreme Court in what embattled President Nicolas Maduro called “a terrorist attack.”
The police officer who allegedly piloted the helicopter issued a statement denouncing the “criminal government,” the BBC reported.
The aircraft fired 15 shots at a social event being held at the Interior Ministry and dropped four grenades on the court, where judges were meeting, but no injuries were reported.
The police officer identified himself as Oscar Pérez in video statements posted on Instagram. Dressed in military fatigues and flanked by masked men in uniform that he said represented a coalition of military employees, policemen and civilians, he asked Venezuelans to oppose “tyranny,” the news channel said.
As the death toll from continuing protests against Maduro’s presidency exceeded 70, the beleaguered leader accused the US of attempting to orchestrate a coup against him and arrested five alleged plotters. Maduro reiterated those accusations , but it’s not yet clear whether the helicopter attack was part of a coup attempt.
Maduro said the pilot had previously worked for former Interior and Justice Minister Miguel Rodriguez, and noted that the country’s “entire armed forces” had been placed on alert.