At least 17 people, including eight minors, were killed Saturday after a partygoer detonated a tear-gas canister setting off a stampede inside a nightclub in Caracas, Venezuela, authorities said. The explosion caused a stampede towards the exits, Venezuela's interior minister Nestor Reverol said. Efe reports that five people were also injured and that one is now in critical condition.
He said a tear gas device exploded after the fight broke out during a graduation celebration at "Los Cotorros" club, triggering the stampede.
Reverol said seven people, including two minors, have been detained.
Images circulated on Twitter showed shoes scattered outside what appeared to be the club and people embracing one another, some wiping away tears.
One of those who lost their child was Nilson Guerra who told reporters: "All I know is my son is dead".
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Many were celebrating the end of the school year. The opposition councilman said that other incidents had happened there in the past. "We send our condolences to the families", Reverol said. No information on the owner's name, exact charges or current whereabouts was immediately provided.
"The kids couldn't leave", Mr Perdomo said.
Haide Berrio, the aunt of a 17-year-old boy killed in the melee, told local media she went running out to find her nephew in the middle of the night after hearing about the commotion at the club and knowing that he was attending the party.
Reverol said the owner had permitted weapons into the club that threatened the "integrity" of the establishment.