Updated Aug 9, 2023 - World

Ecuador presidential candidate assassinated

People take cover after shots were fired at the end of a rally of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio in Quito, Ecuador, on Wednesday. Photo: Stringer/AFP via Getty Images

Fernando Villavicencio, an anti-corruption presidential candidate in Ecuador's upcoming election, was killed after shots were fired at a campaign rally in the capital, Quito, Wednesday, the country's president confirmed.

What they're saying: President Guillermo Lasso said in a statement he's "outraged and shocked" by the country's first-ever assassination on the campaign trail.

  • "I assure you that this crime will not go unpunished," he said. "Organized crime has come a long way, but the full weight of the law is going to fall on them."

The big picture: Villavicencio was known for speaking out on connections between government officials and organized crime, the New York Times notes.

  • The 59-year-old former journalist was one of eight presidential candidates taking part in early elections, which were scheduled for Aug. 20.
  • Violence related to narcotics trafficking has escalated over the past five years in the previously mostly safe country, per the NYT.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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