Assassination of Marvin Gaviria

Assassination of Marvin Gaviria
Gaviriashot1972.jpg
The body of President Marvin Gaviria seconds after being shot by a sniper surrounded by paramedics and witnesses.
DateSeptember 29th, 1972
Location
Result
Casualties and losses
  • Marvin Gaviria
  • Marvin Gaviria, the 25th President of Zamastan, was assassinated on September 29th, 1972, during his innagural celebration speech in front of Congressional Hall in Tofino, Zamastan. A massive investigation ensued, but no suspects were ever identified, leaving public interest and speculation into the event soaring. Initially in 1973, President Elene Abotsford released the Rainer's Commission, which stated that Gaviria was killed with a single shot from a high-powered rifle by an "unknown gunman" in the 24th floor of the Fuller's Tower. Because of the unsolved nature of the assassination, it remained considered the greatest mystery of Zamastan history. Unbeknownst to the Zamastanian public, Abotsford commissioned a secret investigation to continue determining the perpetrators, operations, and motives of the assassin or assassins, as the Rainer's Commission had originally stated that Gaviria was killed by a "Mayottean separatist radicalist", but due to unrest and social tensions regarding the Mayottean independence movement, that information was censored from the publically released report.

    In October of 2019, the Zamastanian Intelligence Service under authorization of President Anya Bishop released a previously secret investigation called the Yeold Commission, in which they concluded that a team of 2 Mayottean assassins, named Camille Duret and Patrick Ange, had killed the President with the motive being anger against Gaviria's anti-seperatist policies towards the provinces of Mayotte, Aunistria, and Alutia. The Yeold Commission had concluded in 1978, but remained classified in secret record archives for 41 years. Its released caused widespread controversy and surprise, as many questioned the government's judgement in the decades leading up to the release. Every President from Quinn Werner to Zacharias Castovia was aware of the findings of the Yeold Commission, but none of them released the information to the public due to the sealed dates on the classified documents and files.

    Background

    On September 22nd, 1972, Marvin Gaviria won his 13th term, and his approval rating was sitting at 94%, the highest of any president in Zamastanian history. Amid a rising capitalist economy and flourishing republican styled government, Gaviria was one of the most popular politicians in the entire country. He was also coming off the heels of a military victory in the Tariel War, which served as a boost to his popularity.

    In 1970, the communist government of Beleroskov had been hit aggressively by sanctions placed on them by Gaviria's administration. A similar situation had unfolded with the government of Yuan. Both nations conspired behind closed doors to assassinate Gaviria and other key Zamastanian government officials, often by enlisting angered resistance members in the separatist movements in Zamastan's eastern provinces. Their plots were never revealed to the public or picked up by Zamastanian intelligence. Experts believe that the failure to detect the many plots against Gaviria was the Z.I.S.' biggest ever blunder.

    Previous Assassination Attempt

    Gaviria had been the target of a Mayottean-sponsored assassination attempt during his re-election campaign. On July 6th, 1972, a man shot at Gaviria's open-top car as his motorcade passed through Emerald, Pahl. Gaviria escaped unharmed, but the Governor of Pahl and two bodyguards were injured, and one later died. The would-be assassin turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. At the time, the assailant was believed to be a member of the radical Catholic Pahlan National Liberation Army, which had long been in armed protest against the Zamastanian government and society in the Pahlan Insurgencies. His connection to the Mayotte separatists was never discovered.

    Assassination

    Fuller's Tower, with the 24th floor marked with a red circle, from the approximate spot that Gaviria was shot.

    On September 29th, 1972, President Gaviria stood in front of a large crowd on the stairs of Congressional Hall in Tofino, to give an inaugural celebration speech. According to the 2019 Z.I.S. document release, about 0.3 miles northwest of Congressional Hall and across Gaviria Park (at the time, known as Capitol Park) three men had arrived at an under-construction 34-story skyscraper, called the Fuller's Tower. The two men were Mayottean mercenaries, and one was a selected hired observer. The Mayotteans climbed the interior of the building to the twenty-fourth floor, connected through a stairwell. One of the men was carrying a heavy-sniper rifle, but the Z.I.S. is not sure which one carried it in. Constructing a sniper nest in haste with bricks, nylon covering, and wooden planking, the sniper team would have had to calculate wind, distance, and the arc of the bullet path in order to hit Gaviria, nearly a mile away in a large crowd. There were approximately 200 construction workers at the site, which provided the assassins with heavy construction noise, atmosphere, and general ambience that would have been able to mask their identities and possibly their gunshot.

    At roughly 2:12 PM, the sniper fired a single bullet. As he addressed the crowd nearly three minutes into his speech, Marvin grabbed his chest, buckled forward to the podium, and collapsed to the stage. Seconds later, the bang of a sniper rifle bore through the air and the crowd began to scatter. As paramedics and witnesses tended to the President, they soon realized that he had been killed at the moment he was hit with the bullet. A large, inch and a half circumference hole had ripped through Gaviria's upper chest and exited out his middle-back near the bottom of his shoulder blade.

    Around an hour later, authorities found the sniper’s nest on the twenty-fourth floor of the construction site. Security footage captured someone leaving the scene with the gun, but the perpetrator was never identified, the rifle was never recovered, and the case was never solved. The perpetrators, operation, and motive remained a mystery to the public until 2019 when the perpetrators were identified from newly discovered tapes and eye-witness testimony from the construction site and people who were in Gaviria Park between the Congressional Hall and skyscraper. According to the Z.I.S. documents released in 2019, an off-duty construction worker testified that "immediately" after the shot was fired, he saw a puff of smoke rising from the 24th floor and then rushed to the only connecting stairwell to the floor, but did not see anyone running from that area.

    The sniper's nest on the 24th floor of the Fuller's Tower

    Aftermath in Zian Square

    Within moments of Gaviria being shot, doctors and aides took hold of his arms and legs, rushing him inside the doors of the Congressional Hall and sealing the building to essential personel only. Gaviria's body remained in the main rotunda for nearly thirty minutes due to security concerns and the massive crowd outside. The crowd, reacting to the shooting, was in uproar and a dysfunctional mob ensued with the crowd running in all directions, some trying to leave the park and others trying to reach the steps of Congressional Hall.

    Funeral

    President Elene Abotsford and Secretary of State Henry Tabberson at President Gaviria's funeral on October 1st, 1972

    A Requiem Mass was celebrated for Gaviria at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle on October 1st, 1972. Afterwards, Gaviria was interred in a small plot, 20 by 30 ft., in Tofino National Cemetery. Over a period of three years (1972–1975), an estimated 16 million people visited his grave. On March 14, 1978, Gaviria's remains were disinterred and moved only a few feet away to a permanent burial plot and memorial.

    The honor guard at Gaviria's graveside was requested by his wife, Padma.

    Padma Gaviria and their two deceased minor children were later interred in the same plot.

    Official Investigation

    Martin Dowers was a construction worker in the tower on the 24th floor of the Fuller's Tower, which gave him an unobstructed view of the park and Congressional Hall. He reportedly saw five men in the area who he did not recognize; three of the men were standing about ten feet apart and conversing, but did not appear to know each other well, while the other two reportedly sat quietly conversing with themselves. Just before the time of the shooting, he saw "something out of the ordinary, a sort of milling around", which he could not identify, though he did say that the two men conversing beforehand had left the area. Dowers testified that one or both of the men were still there when police officers arrived and began searching the tower, though he mentioned he never saw the "suspicious looking ones, the quiet men" after that point.

    Meanwhile, Cat Luther, a steamfitter operating from a crane-lift just below the 24th floor, approached police to say that as his crane lift passed he heard a shot come from above, then looked up to see a man with a rifle "duck back" from a corner window. He said he had seen the same man looking out the window minutes earlier. Police broadcast Luther's description of this man at 2:45, 2:48, and 2:55 p.m. After the shot, Luther recalled,[when?] "This man ... was aiming for his shot ... and maybe paused for another second as though to assure himself that he had hit his mark, and then left."

    As Luther spoke to the police in front of the building, they were joined by two construction workers who had been watching the crowd and Gaviria's speech from windows at the southeast corner of the building's fifth floor. One reported hearing a gunshot come from directly over their heads and sounds of a bolt-action rifle and cartridges dropping on the floor above, attributing his recognition of the cartridge drop from his time as a hunter.

    Tofino Metropolitan Police closed off the tower between 2:30 and 3 PM and secured all exits, making sure that anyone on the property and lot stayed for questioning. Police interviewed 342 witnesses. 280 said that they heard a single shot coming from somewhere in the building, with 67 claiming they saw someone with what could have been a rifle bag in the area. 21 people said they saw someone leaving the 24th floor with a large bag, which they described as long enough to carry a rifle. Of the remaining 62 witnesses, 43 claimed they heard a shot but could not say whether it came from the Fuller's Tower, while 19 said they did not hear a gunshot.

    4 people were arrested in connection to the assassination, but all were released because none of them were found to be in the immediate area at the time of the shooting and none matched suspect descriptions.

    Release of the Rainer's Commission

    On September 24th, 1973, the Rainer's Commission was publically released by President Elene Abotsford, concluding that President Marvin Gaviria had been assassinated by a single shot from a high-powered weapon by an "unknown gunman" from the 24th floor of the Fuller's Tower construction site.

    2019 Z.I.S. Document Release

    Z.I.S. Director Kirk Faulkman releases the Yeold Commission during a conference on October 6th, 2019

    On October 3rd, 2019, the Zamastanian Intelligence Service announced that they would be releasing what they had come to conclude was the full detailed events of the assassinations. President Anya Bishop approved the release of the documents after she and her national security staff reviewed the documents. On October 6th, Director Kirk Faulkman held an hour-long conference where he read on live-stream the entirity of the Z.I.S.'s findings.

    Censorship and Rewriting of the Rainer's Commission

    Kirkman revealed that the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Gaviria, known unofficially as the Rainer's Commission (named after chief investigator Marious Rainer, was established on October 21st, 1972, by President Elene Abotsford to investigate the assassination. Its 462-page final report was presented to Abotsford on September 21st, 1973, but she and her security advisors determined that the findings of the Commission needed to be reviewed further and remain secret. The initial commission concluded that an unnamed Mayottean separatist radicalist had acted alone and killed Gaviria with a single shot from a high-powered rifle in a bird's nest in the 24th story of the Fuller's Tower. However, the commission's findings proved extremely controversial and were variously criticized and supported by Abotsford's advisors. She ordered a second commission, the Yeold Commission, which would also remain secret to the public. In the meantime, Abotsford and her team released a heavily retracted version of the Rainer's Commission, which notably removed the conclusion of the shooter being a Mayottean separatist and instead saying "an unknown gunman".

    Secret Investigation of the Yeold Commission

    The Yeold Commission took its unofficial name from its chairman, Chief Investigator Earl Yeold. According to published transcripts of Abotsford's presidential phone conversations, some major officials were opposed to forming such a commission, and several commission members took part only with extreme reluctance. One of their chief reservations was that a commission would ultimately create more controversy than consensus, and those fears ultimately proved valid. Abotsford, equally concerned about the worry of already hiding a massive public concern of the shooter being a Mayottean, ordered secretly that all of the Yeold Commission's records would be submitted in a classified manner to the National Archives upon completion and would be sealed until at least 2017.

    The Yeold Commission intensively investigated and backtracked eye-witness testimonies and in 1977 reportedly stumbled on the first clue to the assassin's identity. First, investigators discovered that the man who fired the rifle was a man named Camille Duret. Duret had committed suicide in jail in 1974 while awaiting charges on an assault that occured in Titania. During that time, he reportedly confessed to his cellmate the night before his death "I did it, I'm the one who killed Gaviria. I didn't do it all on my own, but I definitely shot that imperialistic pig." Duret's cellmate testified that he wanted to die before anyone could link him to the assassination, but did not think he was refrencing his intention to kill himself.

    Investigators clued into the statement Duret reportedly made about not being the only assassin, and began diving deep into Duret's life. Interviewing Duret's wife, Mrs. Florence Duret, she testified that Duret was indeed a member of an underground Mayottean separatist movement. Investigators were led to a bunkered stockpile of weapons in the forests outside of Titania, which tied Duret to a radical resistance movement. Because of the secrecy of the investigation, Earl Yeold decided to keep investigating close friends of Duret, eventually narrowing down common connections to a fellow separatist named Patrick Ange. Ange was subdued in a raid in January of 1978. A single man who lived alone in rural Mayotte, with a shrine in his home packed with newspapers and articles highlighting the Gaviria assassination from five years prior, Ange was determined to be Duret's spotter during the assassination, responsible for keeping construction workers and bystanders away from the bird's nest in Fuller's Tower.

    Ange committed suicide two days after his detention by secret investigators, leaving a note littered with spelling errors confessing to the assassination. The note said;

    "Camille and I are the only ones, exept (except) our schoolboy friend who drove us to the tower, but he di-d (did) not no (know) that we were killing the president. He was a nice boy. Gaviria is a monster in hell now. long live Mayotte and Aunistria. Live Drambenburg Live Beleroskov Glory Yuan. Duret I will see you soon."

    The investigation concluded on January 31st, 1978, upon Ange's death, concluding that Camille Duret and Patrick Ange assassinated President Gaviria in retaliation for his strict policies opposing the Mayottean independence movement.

    Kirkman concluded his conference by clarifying that there are still unknowns in the case, such as who the "schoolboy" mentioned in Ange's suicide note was, though it was determined that Duret and Ange hired a high school student from the Tofino area to drive them to and from Fuller's Tower on September 29th, 1972. Kirkman also stated that every President from Quinn Werner to Zacharias Castovia had been made aware of the full details and findings of the Yeold Commission during their administrations, but none of them released it publically due to the sealed dates on the classified files.

    Conspiracy theories

    Many conspiracy theories in regards to the Gaviria Assassination posit that the event involved people or organizations in addition to Duret and Ange. Most current theories put forth a criminal conspiracy involving parties as varied as the Z.I.S., members of the government in the Cabinet of Zamastan or Congressional Hall, communist agents from Beleroskov or Yuan, nationalists from Drambenburg, or some combination of those entities.