In shocking scenes in the heart of Buenos Aires, an inspector with the Federal Police was stabbed to death just outside the MALBA Latin American art museum in Palermo on Tuesday afternoon.
Minutes later, criminal violence resulted in another death, this time in Belgrano, after a member of a motorcycle gang was shot dead in a shootout with retired policemen. According to reports, the gang had attempted to assault the former officers, mistaking them for ordinary civilians.
Inspector Juan Pablo Roldán, 33, the head of the Mounted Police, intervened on behalf of local passers-by being threatened at knifepoint by Rodrigo Facundo Roza, 51, only to receive four stab wounds himself, one of them in his heart (despite wearing a bulletproof vest) which proved fatal.
Roldán tried to defend himself with his regulation firearm and succeeded in wounding the man three times in the leg but not in avoiding his own death, expiring about an hour after the assault in nearby Mater Dei hospital. His assailant was taken to the Fernández Hospital.
Several locals, restaurant customers sitting at outside tables, were witnesses to the scene. One of them told the TN television news channel: "I was at a table. There was this guy who seemed to me drugged or mentally ill. He made gestures as if he were talking to God, a total whacko. When the police approached to remove him from the scene, he pulled out a knife saying: 'Which one of you am I going to take out first?' hurling himself at a policeman who fired two shots into the ground to stop him but the guy stabbed him."
Security Minister Sabina Frederic was among those to pay tribute to the late police officer.
"My deepest condolences to the loved ones and colleagues of Federal Police Inspector Juan Pablo Roldán at this difficult time. We highlight his dedication and commitment to taking care of us," said the national official.
On Tuesday, the national government ordered a day of mourning for the late officer, the father of a four-year-old boy, with a decree published in the Official Gazette.