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Gunman With Assault Rifle Shoots Up Cuban Embassy In Washington. No One Hurt.

Andrew Harnik
Washington, D.C., police inspect large bullet holes fired Thursday morning into the facade of the Cuban Embassy.

These aren’t the best of times for Cuba. The COVID-19 crisis has deepened the communist island’s crippling economic shortages. And now, a gunman shot up the outside of Cuba’s embassy in Washington early Thursday morning.

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At about 2 a.m., Washington, D.C., police say an SUV pulled up at the Cuban embassy and a man jumped out with an assault rifle. Neighbors were awakened by a hail of gunfire that tore large bullet holes across the embassy’s façade and into a statue of Cuban hero José Martí.

No one was injured. Police quickly arrested the alleged shooter: Alexander Alazo, a 42-year-old man from Aubrey, Texas. He was charged with possessing an unregistered firearm (which had a high-capacity magazine) and assault with intent to kill.

What police and Secret Service agents — who investigate crimes against diplomatic missions — say they still don’t have is a motive. (The Associated Press reported Thursday afternoon a preliminary police report suspects the attack was a hate crime.) Alazo seems to have little if any social media footprint.

The official Cuban newspaper Granma said Alazo was not on the communist government’s radar screen of anti-Cuba militants in the U.S. In tweets, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez said only they were awaiting an investigation by U.S. authorities and urged them to protect embassies there.

Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. Contact Tim at tpadgett@wlrnnews.org
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