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Spanish Photographer Killed, Two Others Wounded in Crossfire With PM-Panama, Bjt

December 22, 1989 GMT

PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) _ The first foreign journalist known to die in the U.S. invasion was a photographer for a Spanish newspaper killed in ″friendly″ crossfire between American troops in the capital.

Two other photojournalists were wounded Thursday in the same exchange.

A CBS news producer seized by Panamanian gunmen on Wednesday was still missing today. He had been grabbed the Marriott Hotel before it was secured by U.S. troops in the force that invaded to depose Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega.

In the action, a Mexican television crew was briefly detained by Panamanian gunmen.

Juan Antonio Rodriguez, a photographer for Spain’s largest newspaper, El Pais, was killed Thursday outside the Marriott Hotel, said Tomas Lozano, the Spanish ambassador.

Rodriguez died when American troops mistakenly fired upon each other in the hotel parking lot, said Maruja Torres, a correspondent for El Pais.

Patrick Chauvel, a French photographer for the Sygma photo agency, was shot in the stomach, said Jacques Rummelhardt, France’s ambassador to Panama.

Chauvel was listed in serious condition at the U.S. military’s Gorgas Hospital, Rummelhardt said. He was on assignment for Newsweek magazine.

Malcolm Linton, an English photographer for the Reuters news agency, was shot in the leg, said Tom Brown, a Reuter editor. Linton was listed in good condition at Gorgas Hospital, Brown said.

U.S. troops had occupied the hotel Wednesday night to rescue trapped guests and were evacuating them Thursday when the incident occurred.

Six journalists were standing outside in the parking lot when a U.S. armored personnel carrier began approaching, Torres said.

Apparently thinking the personnel carrier belonged to Panamanian forces, U.S. troops inside the hotel yelled at the journalists to get out of the way, then opened fire as they scattered, said Torres.

″They fired on us savagely, they don’t have any respect for journalists,″ said Torres.

The personnel carrier, which turned out to be American, returned fire briefly, said Torres.

The journalists took refuge in a nearby house and were trapped for a time by gunfire in the area.

In New York, CBS asked U.S. and Central American officials for help in finding missing news producer Jon Meyersohn, according to CBS News President David Burke.


Gunmen abducted Meyersohn and ABC News producer Robert Campos on Wednesday morning in the lobby of the Marriott. Campos was freed unharmed that afternoon.

A television crew for Mexico’s private Televisa network was detained for 2 1/2 hours Thursday by members of the civilian Dignity Battalions that support Noriega.

Televisa correspondent Rita Ganem said she and three cameramen were confronted by the militiamen in the city of Concepcion, about 15 miles east of Panama’s border with Costa Rica.

The paramilitaries took their passports and other identification, money and jewelry before releasing them, Ms. Ganem said. The journalists made their way back to Costa Rica. Also detained were cameramen Alfredo Acosta, Antonio Jasso and Anastasio Valle.

Meanwhile, a London-based television news agency charged Thursday that a U.S. Army soldier confiscated the tape of a TV cameraman who shot pictures of American troops surrounding the Nicaraguan and Cuban embassies in Panama City.

Robert Sullivan, New York bureau chief of Worldwide Television News, said the agency planned to file a complaint with the Pentagon. WTN is co-owned by ABC and includes ABC and CNN among its clients.

Sullivan said cameraman Alejandro Carbonnel was shooting pictures when an army sergeant approached him and confiscated the videotape. The unidentified soldier said Carbonnel ″had to have permission from the Southern Command to shoot here,″ Sullivan said.

The Southern Command is responsible for all U.S. military operations in Latin America.