Kenneth Darlington: American Lawyer Caught on Video Fatally Shooting 2 Environmental Activists Blocking Road in Panama

Kenneth Darlington
Kenneth Darlington was seen getting out of his vehicle and demanding the protestors get out of the road before fatally shooting two of them. Twitter

A 77-year-old American man shot two people while attempting to drive through a blockade protesting against a mining contract in Panama on Tuesday.

Panama's attorney general said Kenneth Darlington had been arrested in connection to the deaths but did not confirm the cause of death.

'Are You Going to Kill Someone?"

However, a video captured Darlington carrying a weapon and removing a tire from the highway where protests occurred in the Chame District of Panama, which is 51 miles from the capital Panama City. Darlington, a lawyer and professor, was identified in the video, which showed him walking from his car, demanding the protesters get out of the road.

Initially, Darlington removed tyres that were were obstructing the road. The protesters, according to witnesses, shouted at the man: "Are you going to kill someone?"

Darlington replied, "You want to be the first?"

He opened fire, first shooting a protester holding a flag and then a second man who went to confront him, before walking off and removing tree trunks that had been blocking the road. He was then arrested.

Local media identified the victims as Abdiel Diaz, a teacher and union activist, and Ivan Mendoza. While one of them died on the scene, another was pronounced deceased at the hospital.

The video is graphic in nature. Viewer discretion is advised:

Activists were Protesting Against Copper Mine Contract

The deaths are the first fatalities in protests that broke out on October 20 against a contract that allows Canada-based First Quantum Minerals to operate Central America's biggest open pit copper mine for at least another 20 years. The site, in the jungle to the west of the capital, is considered environmentally sensitive.

In an effort to calm tempers, congress last week passed a law that imposes a moratorium on new metal mining contracts and left it up to the Supreme Court to decide on whether to allow the contract with First Quantum Minerals.

Environmentalists have welcomed this decision by lawmakers, saying indeed it is the court that should rule on whether the contract violates the constitution. However, a powerful construction union called Suntracs, teachers unions and other organisations want the contract to be annulled through a law passed by Congress, so they are continuing their protests.

Darlington Previously Arrested on Gun Charges

Darlington, had been detained in 2005 for the possession of various assault weapons, including two M-1 rifles, ten pistols, one rifle, two revolvers, one shotgun, and AK-47 and M-16 ammunition. He was released on bail and claimed that these weapons were part of a collection.

According to local reports, he has been linked to Panamanian accountant Marc Harris - a Panamanian accountant who was jailed for 17 years in 2004 after being convicted of money laundering and tax evasion.

If Darlington is convicted of charges related to Tuesday's shooting, he could be sentenced to house arrest rather than being sent to jail because of his age.