Three Tourists Stabbed After Filming Video in La Perla, Puerto Rico
Three American tourists on vacation in Puerto Rico ended up in the hospital after ignoring locals who repeatedly told them to stop filming a hamburger cart in La Perla. The neighborhood is becoming increasingly popular with tourists thanks to the song “Despacito.” However, it’s also a hub of illicit drug dealing and gang activity.
Tourists ignore the warnings of La Perla locals
The three men — 39-year-old Carlos Sánchez Brown, 37-year-old Wallace Florence, and 38-year-old Jackson Tremayne — were walking through La Perla at around 4 AM when they happened upon a local hamburger cart. They began recording a video of the food stand and ignored repeated warnings to stop.
When the tourists refused to stop filming, a man approached Florence and struck him in the head. He then started to chase the tourists with a knife. According to the New York Post, the attacker pursued the men until they reached the Museum of Art and History and subsequently began stabbing them.
The man stabbed Brown in his left forearm. Tremayne suffered stab wounds in his chest, back, and abdomen. The attacker did not stab Florence, but his two companions ended up in a nearby hospital.
As of now, there is little information on the condition of the two men in the hospital. Recent reports suggest the two men are still alive but local officials have yet to make a comment. Additionally, no arrests have been made in connection with the attack.
La Perla went from a hub of gang activity to a tourist destination
Gang activity in La Perla is on the decline following a 2011 police raid by federal agents. Many people know La Perla as a driving force behind heroin distribution in Puerto Rico, but the city’s reputation is heading in a different direction, partly thanks to Luis Fonsi’s 2017 hit song, “Despacito.”
Fonsi filmed the music video for “Despacito” in La Perla, prompting a surge of global attention. “Despacito” is one of the century’s most popular songs. In 2020, it became the most highly certified song in the history of the RIAA. As of 2020, the song went 13x platinum, the equivalent of 13 million units sold.
Coupled with Bad Bunny‘s rise in popularity, Puerto Rico is quickly becoming one of the hottest tourist destinations on the planet. The pristine beaches and lively nightlife were already a major draw for tourists. However, the rise of Puerto Rico’s cultural relevancy in the mainstream is only making it more popular.
The community still has pockets of danger
Still, La Perla’s newfound popularity is coming at a price. Tourists accustomed to destinations catered to their experience are getting a rude awakening in La Perla, where gang activity and the drug trade continue to exist in the community despite the 2011 raid.
This latest incident echoes a 2021 story involving the murder of a tourist who refused to stop filming in an area known for drug activity. The man, Tariq Quadir Loat, bought drugs with his friend and fellow traveler. When the two insisted on taking pictures of their adventure, a group of locals beat Loat to death before setting his body on fire.