Following a record number of homicides in Puerto Rico, the island’s police chief, Jose Figueroa Sancha, resigned Saturday.
Gov. Luis Fortuño’s administration said Col. Jose Luis Rivera will be serving as interim police chief.
Local press has speculated that Figueroa Sancha’s resignation was prompted by Puerto Rico’s record 101 murders committed in June, but the governor’s office stated that he asked to be relieved of his duties to take care of unspecified health issues.
A statement from the governor said, “Jose Figueroa Sancha was an incorruptible, tireless and implacable fighter against crime and drug trafficking. Under his command, powerful drug-trafficking organizations were attacked and dismantled like never before in Puerto Rico.”
As Figueroa Sancha steps down, there is currently an average of 10 murders each weekend. June’s homicide report shows there were 19 more killings than June 2010, and 21 more than June 2009. So far this year, there have been 568 homicides in U.S. commonwealth.
San Juan saw the highest number of homicides in June.
Authorities say the increase in violence in mostly due to rival gangs fighting for “turf”.