Holiday News|

Brit Killed on Holiday in Venezuela Taking on Robbers

Posada Casa Rosa, Margarita IslandA British firefighter, who was on holiday with his brother in Venezuela, has been shot dead during a robbery. Police say that 28-year-old Thomas Ossel was shot in the jaw after four armed men stormed his Posada Casa Rosa hotel room, which is located on Margarita Island, and demanded money. His 21-year-old brother, Jack, survived after being stabbed in the back. The men responsible are still being hunted by police.

According to the owner of Posada Casa Rosa, Peter Eggersdorfer, a gang of seven robbers – at least one with a gun – showed up at the hotel about 9pm on Monday asking for a room. A few seconds later they had a pistol to his head. They were looking for money and went from room to room. When they got to the Ossel’s room, they were resisted. The Brits started fighting with them, Eggersdorfer continued, describing what he could only hear was going on. There was shouting, lots of action and then he heard five shots fired. Four of the shots went into the wall, but the final one hit Tom Ossel. The incident only lasted about three minutes, and then the robbers fled the hotel.

Eggersdorfer also said that he called emergency services, but it only took minutes for Tom to die. The pair were sharing a room with another Brit and someone from New Zealand. They had been there for about six days. He continued that he doesn’t understand why someone would fight with people who have a gun. He is surprised that only one of them died, as there were five shots. The sad part is that Tom hadn’t paid for the room, so Eggersdorfer doesn’t think he even had any money. The hotel owner added that Venezuela can be dangerous and that it’s not unusual for locals to attempt robbing tourists.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has confirmed that Tom Ossel was killed. A spokesman said that they can confirm his death happened on Monday, July 18. They are providing consular assistance to the family, he added. In its travel advice, the FCO warns that there is a high rate of street crime in Venezuela and that express kidnappings and armed muggings happen rather regularly. Resistance to these robberies has previously resulted in the resisters being shot dead, it adds.

A friend of the family has revealed that the bothers’ father, Ben, has flown to Venezuela to be with his surviving son. London Fire Brigade (where Tom worked) commissioner Ron Dobson says he’s saddened and shocked to learn of Tom’s death. He will be sorely missed, and the brigade’s thoughts are with his family and friends. There were many other tributes made to Tom by friends on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

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