Source: Rogue Venezuelan helicopter pilot killed by police

A Venezuelan police pilot accused of stealing a helicopter and using it to attack government buildings in Caracas was...

Posted: Jan. 16, 2018 9:02 AM
Updated: Jan. 16, 2018 9:02 AM

A Venezuelan police pilot accused of stealing a helicopter and using it to attack government buildings in Caracas was killed Monday by police.

A high-ranking member of the Venezuelan government who asked to remain anonymous confirmed Oscar Perez's death. CNN has not been able to independently confirm his death.

According to a statement from the country's Interior Ministry, heavily armed men from a "terrorist cell" opened fire on police and attempted to detonate a vehicle full of explosives, state broadcaster VTV reported.

The Interior Ministry said two officers were killed and five injured, and five people from the "terrorist cell" were arrested, VTV reported. Authorities have not released the names of those killed or captured.

The encounter took place in the western Caracas neighborhood of El Junquito.

Earlier Monday, Perez posted videos on social media saying his group was under attack. In the video, Perez holds a rifle and speaks to the camera with what appears to be blood on his face.

"We are not shooting and they keep attacking us," Perez says. "We are trying to negotiate because there are innocent people here, there are civilians ... they literally want to kill us."

Perez, an officer in the country's investigative police force, is known for leading a helicopter attack against the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Court in June. The helicopter circled the city as Perez and his group, Equilibrio Nacional (National Balance), attacked the buildings with grenades and gunfire. No one was injured.

Perez disappeared after the incident and was declared a fugitive by President Nicolas Maduro's government.

"It is better to go out and fight for a new future than to die kneeling to this regime," Perez said in an interview with CNN en Espa-ol that aired Friday.

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