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Six Die When Enraged Soldier Lobs Grenade Onto Dance Floor

August 18, 1991

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) _ An army colonel angry because his girlfriend refused to dance with him lobbed a grenade onto a dance floor early Sunday, killing six people and injuring 90, the Red Cross said.

Carlos Lopez Mendoz, a Red Cross spokesman, said the incident happened shortly before 1 a.m. at a town dance at a school in Comasagua, 17 miles east of the capital.

The man’s girlfriend, Vilma Alfaro, and a 5-year-old girl died at the scene and four others died at hospitals, Lopez said.

″The colonel was arguing with Vilma and when she refused to dance, he pulled out a grenade and threw it. Then there was a roar and screams,″ Lopez said after talking with survivors at the Hospital Rosales.

Witnesses identified the alleged attacker as Col. Jorge Alberto Cuellar.

He tossed a grenade ″when his girlfriend Vilma Alfaro refused to dance,″ one of the survivors, Marina Alfaro, told reporters.

A doctor at Hospital Rosales said most of the victims suffered shrapnel wounds.

″In most cases the injuries aren’t so serious, but the psychological effects are profound. They say it was horrible,″ the doctor said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The armed forces press office said the military was investigating and had no comment.

A National Police spokesman said the suspect had fled.

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