Canadian man killed in Chilean tourist city Valparaiso
Local authorities say man was stabbed in attempted robbery
A 57-year-old Canadian citizen was stabbed to death on Friday in the Chilean port of Valparaiso while he was strolling with his family in a hillside tourist areas, local media and police said.
Global Affairs Canada has confirmed the death, and the University of British Columbia has identified the victim as retired UBC professor Peter Winterburn.
"Consular officials stand ready to provide assistance to the victim's family," spokesperson Stefano Maron said in a statement. "Consular officials are in contact with local authorities to gather additional information. To protect the privacy of the individual concerned, further details on this case cannot be released."
According to the newspaper La Tercera, which cited police sources, the victim was killed at around noon when he tried to resist the theft of his backpack by two assailants, who fled.
The police murder unit in Valparaiso confirmed the death to Reuters but did not provide any details.
According to La Tercera, the Canadian family resides in Chile's capital Santiago, about 100 kilometres from the port.
'Grievance and disbelief'
A statement on the website of the 29th International Applied Geochemistry Symposium, set to be held in Chile next year, said Winterburn had recently moved back to Chile after many years away.
Brian Townley, the president of the symposium's organizing committee, described what happened to Winterburn as a "shock to all of us, a tragedy that is hard to explain."
He described "great grievance and disbelief, mixed with frustration and impotence," at Winterburn's death.
"Criminal acts such as these [are] impossible to understand within the good norms of life," Townley wrote in an email.
A spokesperson for the mining company Vale said Winterburn had worked there for years before moving to Chile.
"He is missed by all of us at Vale but particularly so by his colleagues in the Exploration Department. His death, as a result of what appears to be a senseless and criminal act, is a loss to us all," the spokesperson said.
With files from CBC News and The Canadian Press