Ecuadorian police have arrested seven armed men who stormed a hospital in an attempt to kill a teenager who was being treated there. The gang members took the nurses hostage and exchanged fire with police before being arrested.
All the hostages were freed and no one was hurt, authorities said. The target of the attack is believed to be a 17-year-old boy known as "Dirty Face," also a gang member, who is in intensive care recovering from gunshot wounds.
The gunmen held five staff members hostage for more than an hour, an employee told local newspaper El Diario. Several videos are circulating on social networks showing people dressed in balaclavas holding weapons.
Other employees of the hospital in the town of Chone, in western Ecuador, said they had locked themselves in rooms while gunmen broke down doors looking for the teenager.
“They didn't know the layout of the hospital, it seems, and that's why they were everywhere,” said Homero Andrade, who represents the center's employees. "Thank God and the police we are still here to tell the story," he added.
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso also thanked the police for their work and said that their intervention had saved lives. The president shared images showing armed officers ready to enter the building before the arrests.