TEMUCUICUI – Carlos Alarcón, the suspected killer of Mapuche Camilo Catrillanca in November 2018, testified on Wednesday in court. In his longest defense so far, Alarcón detailed how his superiors staged the death of Catrillanca as an unfortunate victim, caught in crossfire. According to the accused, he was told to lie to the public prosecutor.
The main suspect in the Catrillanca case, former elite force member Carlos Alarcón, testified on Wednesday in the court in Angol. Alarcón, for whom the regional prosecutor has demanded 15 years for killing the 24-year-old Mapuche and shooting the 15-year-old boy who was with him, reconstructed for the first time the events that led to Catrillanca’s death. He provided detailed comments about how his superiors told him to deliver false statements.
According to the testimony, as reported by daily La Tercera, he was told by his lawyer Cristian Inostroza to say he was under attack when he fired the shot that killed Catrillanca. Before entering the office of the Public Prosecutor in the region in the days after the shooting, Alarcón met with his lawyer, who said: “Now guys, you are going to give a statement to the Prosecutor’s Office and have to say that you were attacked from the side of the road, that there was crossfire, that the tractor [which Catrillanca drove] crossed the line of fire, which you never targeted.”
Inostroza was arrested in December 2018 for his role in the cover-up.
The head of the special police forces in La Araucanía, major Manuel Valdivieso, asked later according to the testimony about bodycams. After Inostroza had instructed his clients to say nobody wore bodycams, Valdivieso instructed the men involved in the operation to eliminate all footage of the shooting. When Alarcón protested, Valdivieso reportedly said: “Do what you are being told, or do you want to go to jail?”.
Later, it became public one of the squad members carried a camera during the killing. Inostroza advised the four squad members involved to say that the footage was deleted from the memory card because of “intimate footage on the SD card of the squad member with his wife.” According to the testimony, this was the moment the men decided it was enough. Involving one’s spouse in the cover-up, was too much. They went to see their superior, major Valdivieso. Alarcón said Valdivieso replied to their protests by calling the four “weak.”
“I was treated as weak, the person who was facing the investigation, risking my life, I am very sorry for what happened. No day passes by that I do not regret having used the firearm. I have never had anything against the Mapuche people. I am sorry that Camilo Catrillanca has died. Since that day my life died,” Alarcón reportedly said during the testimony.
Series of Hearings
The testimony is part of a series of hearings by the prosecutor in La Araucanía with those involved in the killing of Catrillanca and the cover-up by police and politicians in the days after. Among the 73 witnesses are former Interior Minister Andrés Chadwick, former interior undersecretary Rodrigo Ubilla, UDI-party Senator Felipe Kast (representative of the area), ex-representative of Araucanía region Luis Mayol, and former Carabineros director Hermes Soto.
Camilo Catrillanca was killed in November 2018 during a police operation near the town of Ercilla. He drove his tractor, accompanied by a 15-year-old boy, when he was shot in his head. According to footage that appeared later, his death was no accident, contrary to what police forces claimed.