Gunmen Kill Honduran Soccer Team Goalie
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) - Men wielding automatic weapons gunned down the Honduran national soccer team's starting goalkeeper Sunday as he sat in his parked car in the country's second-largest city.
Milton Javier Flores, known as ``Chocolate,'' was shot six times and died shortly before 3 a.m. in San Pedro Sula, 115 miles from Tegucigalpa, the capital.
After the 28-year-old Flores was shot, he started the car and tried to drive to a hospital but steered his car into a nearby tree. An unidentified woman sitting in the car with him was shot several times and was in critical condition at a San Pedro Sula hospital.
Flores' car was riddled with 15 bullets, leading police to conclude that a local gang targeted him.
Police spokesman Nahin Nunez said the slaying happened in San Pedro Sula's La Union, a gang-infested neighborhood where fighting leads to execution-style shootings every few weeks.
What Flores was doing in La Union and why he was attacked remained unclear, Nunez said.
Flores played for the Honduran club Real Espana. On Saturday he led his team to a 3-2 victory over La Ceiba, then drove 75 miles to San Pedro Sula, Nunez said.
Rafael Leonardo Callejas, the president of the Honduran soccer federation, said by telephone that Flores' death was ``an irreplaceable loss for Honduran soccer.''
Flores started for Honduras during qualifying games for the 2002 World Cup. He was also the national team's top goalie during qualifying for the 1998 World Cup and during the 1995 Pan American Games.