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American Man Shot Dead In San Salvador

February 16, 1986

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) _ An American man who had lived in El Salvador for five years was killed by a gunman Saturday and a U.S. Embassy spokesman said it was not known if the shooting was connected with this country’s civil war.

U.S. and Salvadoran officials said Peter Stryker Hascall, 35, was shot in the throat with a 45-caliber pistol at about 3 a.m. and the killer escaped.

″Apparently, he (Hascall) belonged to the merchant marine,″ said U.S. Embassy spokesman Jim Williams.

He said it was not clear if Hascall’s death was a street crime or connected with the 6-year-old war between leftist guerrillas and the U.S.-backed government.

″I am unaware of the circumstances and motives of the crime,″ Williams said.

Judge Rosario Gochez Castro de Paz of the 3rd District Court, who took charge of the case, told The Associated Press Hascall was carrying two handguns and a Salvadoran gun permit.

The judge quoted Hascall’s wife, Margarita Galeas, 37, a Salvadoran, as saying Hascall left home Friday night to have a few drinks with friends.

He reported she said Hascall returned at about 2 a.m. Saturday with two unidentified men and left immediately afterwards, saying he was going to negotiate a business deal.

Ms. Galeas said she heard two shots in the street about 10 minutes after her husband left, but other witnesses counted five shots, according to Castro de Paz.

He quoted Ms. Galeas as saying Hascall was employed as a salesman by Swift Ships, a company with general offices in Morgan City, La., that manufactures small industrial boats.

But in Morgan City, a Swift Ships machine shop foreman, Rudy Guillote, said he had never heard of Hascall. He said that to his knowledge, the firm’s only foreign-based employee is in Egypt, and Swift Ships has no representatives in Central or South America.

Authorities said Hascall carried documents showing he was born in New York City and was issued a merchant marine card in Houston in 1981.

An Associated Press reporter who saw the body at a local mortuary said Hascall had the word ″Atacatl″ tattooed on his right forearm. Atlacatl is the name of a Salvadoran Indian chieftain who fought the Spanish conquest as well as that of an army infantry battalion trained by the United States to fight the guerrillas.

Human rights groups say an estimated 60,000 people have been killed since the civil war started in October 1979, including a number of Americans.

Eight months ago, a guerrilla terrorist squad fired submachine guns at adjoining San Salvador outdoor cafes, killing four U.S. Embassy Marine guards and two visiting American businessmen.

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