77-year-old retired American lawyer and university professor Kenneth Darlington shot and killed two climate change protesters in Panama. The shooting occurred during anti-mining protests that had been taking place in Panama for the past two weeks.
The incident occurred on November 8, 2023, when protesters were blocking the Pan-American Highway in Chame, about 55 miles west of Panama City. Darlington, who has both U.S. and Panamanian citizenship, approached the protesters, drew his gun, and shot two of them at close range. He was later arrested by Panamanian police.
The protesters were opposing a controversial mining contract that allows Canada-based First Quantum Minerals to operate Central America’s largest open-pit copper mine for at least another 20 years. The site, located in the jungle to the west of Panama City, is considered environmentally sensitive. The two victims were identified as Abdiel Diaz, a teacher and union activist, and Ivan Mendoza.
The protests had caused roadblocks, daily disruption to businesses, and school closures, leading to wider discontent with the government.
Darlington has a previous conviction for illegal possession of firearms, and he was also employed as a spokesman for a Panamanian accountant, Marc Harris, who was jailed for 17 years in 2004 for money laundering and tax evasion.