Father Ram贸n Arturo Montejo Peinado, a 45-year-old priest of the Diocese of Oca帽a, Colombia, was brutally murdered on June 4 during an apparent robbery.

The incident occurred in the Jes煤s Cautivo neighborhood of Oca帽a, where two men approached him in a parking lot. When Father Montejo resisted, the assailants stabbed him twice in the back, threw him out of his vehicle, and then ran him over.

Father Montejo was known for his humanitarian work in the Catatumbo region, particularly in missions that led to the release of kidnapped individuals. 鈥淗e was a person that has always accompanied during difficult times the several families that had relatives kidnapped,鈥 said Emiro Ca帽izares, Oca帽a鈥檚 mayor. His funeral on June 6 in his hometown of Teorama saw the participation of hundreds of priests and faithful, mourning the loss of a beloved community leader.

The Colombian police quickly arrested the suspects, identified as Venezuelan nationals Jos茅 Antony Montilla Jovito, 29, and Misael Rodolfo Valdez Pedrosa, 21. Security camera footage revealed that the attackers were acquaintances of Father Montejo.

鈥淲e deeply condemn that irrational violence caused the death of a priest who dedicated his life to spreading the message of Jesus Christ of peace and love,鈥 said Archbishop Jorge Alberto Ossa Soto.

The Colombian bishops and local authorities have called for a thorough investigation to uncover the full circumstances of Father Montejo鈥檚 murder. Soto emphasized the need for clarity, saying, 鈥淲e categorically reject this act of barbarism that threatens not only the life of a human being, but also the fundamental principles of coexistence and humanity.鈥

Local suspects confirmed that the investigation is ongoing and noted that one of the suspects was invited to a meeting at the murder scene.

Photo credit: SajoR via Wikimedia Commons
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