17 dead in Venezuela nightclub club stampede sparked by tear gas

CARACAS – At least 17 people, including eight minors, have been killed after the detonation of a tear gas device inside a crowded club in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas on Saturday.

The deaths occurred after a brawl broke out during a middle school graduation party and someone detonated the tear gas, sending more than 500 people rushing for the exits, said Interior and Justice Minister Nestor Reverol.

In comments aired on state VTV television, Reverol put the death toll at 17.

“The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, led by President Nicolas Maduro, deplores this unfortunate event. We send our condolences to the families,” he said.

Official reports said the victims died of suffocation or multiple trauma.

Eight of those killed were younger than 18, said Reverol. Five people were injured and taken to hospital for treatment.

An investigation into the incident has been underway, with seven people already being arrested, according to the interior minister.