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Murdered expat engaged his assailants in a gun battle, neighbors say

New information about the Friday night murder of expat David Senechalle indicates he died in a gun battle with his assailants.

Bullet holes in a bedroom window at the Senechalle home.

Police reported that he was shot in the stomach when he attempted to resist three masked assailants at his home north of La Paz. Neighbors who arrived at the scene shortly after the crime occurred said, however, that Senechalle was armed with a 45 caliber pistol and engaged the intruders in a shoot-out to protect his home.

The pistol that was legally registered to the victim, was taken by the assailants.

Photos taken in the bedroom where Senechalle died show bullet holes in the windows. Other photos show a number of broken windows, apparently smashed by the intruders as they entered the house.

Senechalle’s neighbors say that his age was misreported in the police report. He was 86 years old, not 76.

The housekeeper, who hid in a bathroom with Senechalle’s wife, said the intruders remained in the house 15 to 20 minutes after the shooting, stealing computers, jewelry, cameras, and other electronic equipment.

The property was equipped with an alarm system, according to police, but it was disabled by the assailants or not operational at the time of the crime.

  • Galileo

    He had a “legal” .45???? How is that possible. Not in Ecuador!

    • Dan

      I have a legally registered 45. Registration was handled through the army when I got my license 10 years ago. Now you go through the national police.

      • Galileo

        I was told that a .45 was considered a military weapon and was not longer legal.
        I’ll be darned. I want two!

        • AAD

          WITH TWO, YOU’LL BE ABLE TO DIE IN HALF THE TIME AS THIS POOR MAN.

          • Globe Trotter

            And increase the probability of it happening again by a factor of 3.

          • Galileo

            Globe Trotter, Does this mean you prefer to not have a defensive weapon at home? I think your reasoning might be a little bit off but it is a-ok that you don’t own one. No one here will make you. (:

          • Galileo

            AAD, Wow! I never thought about it that way. (:

        • disqus_v4jguO70aY

          I want one also

      • Globe Trotter

        And Satan comes to Eden……

        • Galileo

          There is probably more truth to this comment than meets the surface.

      • Galileo

        I was told that no handgun in excess of .38 cal or 9mm was legal to possess in Ecuador by a sergeant on the local police force. Maybe he has his facts wrong, I don’t know but it sounds as if he does or other posters here are misinformed of the current requirements. I don’t know. I hope he is wrong and I hope there are no restrictions on type of guns allowed.

        • Michael Berger

          Most police here don’t even know what an International driver’s license is so don’t expect them to know about other laws. It is always shocking how little they know but I think that’s because the culturally something is against the law if the police say it is and people rarely insist on following the law.

    • Jason Faulkner

      Yes it is. You can legally own a firearm, it’s just not as simple as walking into a gun show and showing photo ID.

    • Phil Sweeney

      Yes it is possible! Registered through the military.
      Please check the law before respondng with a positive assertion as if it were a fact, when in fact your statement is wrong.If your not sure about something then preface it with Something like I’m not sure if it is legal or not ,or something to indicate that you you haven’nt checked with an authority.This just gives anyone reading your post the idea that you know what your talking about and misleads rather than educates the reader.

      • Beth

        Re, “If your not sure about something” – I’m absolutely sure you don’t know the correct usage of the word ‘your’

        • Galileo

          Be nice to him Beth, he was probably auto corrected. That happens often. I am sure he is knowledgeable about contractions. He took the time to clarify his message.

      • Donald

        So it is possible to own a gun? Where does one go to start this process? Thank you.

      • Galileo

        I did Mr. Know-it-all and I repeated what I was told by the local police sergeant. Who are you to be telling others what and how to post their comments. You are a troll! Go away.

        • Phil Sweeney

          Sorry Galileo, I may have been a little harsh and should have been a little more tactful in replying it’s just that I thought it was important that people are aware that Ecuador does allow you to register a handgun. i was under the impression when you wrote several days prior that you thought it would be nice to be able to defend yourself !and I agree with you,,and that the criminals have the weapons while the homeowners don’t that you truly didn’t know anybetter. The implication that the police go home and change clothes and then return,well, that is not an idea that I would subscribe to,but ofcourse your entitled to your own opinion for sure. i thought that had you gotten that info from the policeman as you said beforehand than you wouldn’t have posted those statements that it was illegal. After another poster had posted hat he had a .45 the conversation shifted and you then mentioned that you had n fact already talked to the policeman who nformed you that anything lager than a 9 mm or a 38 was not legal and that you thought was considered or the policeman implied that it was a military grade handgun. just to set the record straight,the military dropped the 45 as a service weapon 32 years ago in 1985 and have been using 9 mm handguns and therefore they are classified as military grade by definition so that is not in and by itself a reason to disallow it’s registration. I aologize again if I offended you however judging from your other posts I think we both feel that it is better to have a means of defense and in this case we’re talking about a handgun, and not needing it as opposed to needing it and not having it. Ofcourse on an issue that seems to be as emotionally charged as this there will be people getting all charged up and getting irrationally personal.all I can say is ,it is legal with the proper vetting by the authorities and as such is within the rights of anyone wishing to pursue it to work with whomever the legal authorities currently charged with the process at the moment happen to be in order to obtain it.
          Respectfully Sincere,
          Phil Sweeney

          • Galileo

            Since you took the time to address my misunderstanding of the “rules” and the fact you were able to complete the process, let me thank you for the information.
            Congratulations on your success!

          • Phil Sweeney

            Very kind of you to post. Thank You and good luck whichever way you choose to go.

        • Jason Faulkner

          You need to look up the definition of troll

          • Galileo

            Jason Faulkner, what do you think the meaning is of troll, not that it is that important.

          • Jason Faulkner

            Google is your friend

      • nards barley

        DA,

        It is the National Police that registers firearms now, NOT the military.

        “Uno de los requisitos para obtener el permiso de porte y/o tenencia de armas de fuego, es el Certificado del Sistema Automatizado de Identificación de Huellas Dactilares o AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) por sus siglas en inglés, que el propietario debe obtener en la Policía Judicial.”

        http://www.policiaecuador.gob.ec/departamento-de-criminalistica-registro-29-716-armas-de-fuego/

        • Phil Sweeney

          I went through the process with the military less than a year ago at the Tarqui third division. The point being that it is legal as the reporter made sure to point out in the article.To imply that he was in possession of an illegal weapon is not fair to him as he was in full legal compliance.

        • Phil Sweeney

          DA ,Nards the last paragraph of the link you gave me says you ultimately register the weapon with the control de armas del ejercito nacional or the fuerzas armadas ecuatorianas: Validación en la base de datos de los sistemas SIIPNE, AFIS, y AVIS+F, previo a la emisión del certificado de identificación física humana de personas naturales, jurídicas y compañías de seguridad para trámites en los Centros de Control de Armas del Comando Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas, para obtener el permiso de porte y/o tenencia de armas de fuego. DNCE the paragraph you cited says that 1 of the requirements not all. In otherwords the police do a background check to ensure you don’t have any criminal violations in your background however you still as stated in your link register with the armed forces http://www.defensa.gob.ec/control-de-armas/

          All persons without exception and even the members of the public service force in active service have the obligation to register their own weapons with the armed forces.

    • Michael Berger

      Why not? Is exercising one’s human rights illegal here?

      • Galileo

        As matter of fact but then again I have been batting a 1000 on giving out misinformation. I was told, again by the PD Sergeant that I would most likely end up in prison if I shot someone in my home with a gun. I remember something to the effect of “maybe he said illegal or unregistered gun” and something about 5 years in the greybar hotel…. Maybe someone more qualified could help me out here.

        • Michael Berger

          The way it works with unregistered guns is that they are usually “wrestled away from the thief or attacker in a struggle”. This is a much better tactic than shooting a thief with a registered gun which could easily result in jail time and having to pay the “victim’s” family. Your Sergeant friend is correct in saying that they do prosecute law abiding citizens. Had the homeowner in this article lived and killed any of the attackers the district attorney would probably have given him a much longer sentence than any of the surviving home invaders would have received.

          If you have a rural property and a wife who is ok with using part of the property as a burial plot then the story could be. “No, nothing happened here, somebody nearby was lighting off fireworks that’s all”. Search? “No we’re busy and don’t have time to waste with that so if it’s really important to you then you can go get a warrant signed by a judge.”

          What ever the story is stick to it and let those goons try to disprove it. Fight like hell and be willing to use asymmetric tactics.

  • Bobette

    Having a gun really did Senechalle a lot of good, didn’t it?!

    • Globe Trotter

      Stats can easily answer that. Without his gun, he would almost certainly be alive today, having his morning coffee, taking inventory and filing a home insurance claim (isn’t that what it’s there for?). A sad tragedy, due as much to culture shock as theft.

    • Galileo

      Needs training and practice! Gun Control should only apply to being able to hit your target.

    • Karen

      After they shot him dead they took his gun too.

    • StilllWatching

      Right. Instead he should have taken that self defense course you’re always shilling for. You know, the one that your friend runs and profits by.

    • Michael Berger

      An 86 year old man at an elevation of almost 11,000 feet lost a 3-on-1 gunfight. He died in a much more honerable way than the nursing
      home deaths that most of the people who upvoted this post will expirience.

  • baba free

    Lord have mercy!! An 86 yr old with a 45 and who knows if he was taking any meds!! That’s why I like the US…lock and load and be sure to duck in the meantime…

  • LadyMoon

    Isn’t it common in the USA for an assailant to take a gun from a female or senior victim and use it on them? I wouldn’t want one (if I were there) for that reason. Still very sad about this.

    • Galileo

      I would have probably slept thru the whole invasion.

  • Raven Whitewing

    I have had personal experience in Ecuador, in the same scenario ( armed invasion of four criminals). Being armed saved a person’s life and deterred criminals who were also armed. Please spare the armchair, inexperienced comments.

    • Phil Sweeney

      Thanks for the input Raven.

  • Dogoslave

    After murdering the man in a gun fight, the intruders remained in the house for another 15-20 minutes loading up his possessions. Seems like they weren’t too concerned about being around when the police showed up. Why is that?

    • Globe Trotter

      Ah yes, I forgot. Violence and conspiracy theories.

      • Dogoslave

        Of course, the beauty of Ecuadorian culture couldn’t possibly involve any crooked cops, so lets assume it was masked teens just trying to do a burglary. Eden looks better with that kind of spin.

        • Galileo

          I seriously doubt that the police were involved. They do what they can but are sometimes slow to respond, or so it seems while you are waiting for their arrival. This is the problem of not being able to defend yourself.
          I have always found the police to be like the rest of the Ecuadorians, great people.

          • Michael Berger

            There are always a few rogue cops who are involved in crime just like in every other country. Maybe you should look into instances where gangs like this are caught before jumping to conclusions about whether or not there are cops in their midst.

          • Galileo

            Michael, i think the odds are in my favor when I say I doubt it but you just never know either. I wouldn’t call you an idiot for thinking that way and I wouldn’t be totally shocked either, but I think the odds are in my favor that it didn’t involve the police. However Michael, maybe you know something that the rest of us don’t and if so would you care to share it? (:

    • Jason Faulkner

      Did anyone bother to call the police or did they assume the gun would take care of it?

      • Michael Berger

        In a past article it said the maid hid in the bathroom and called 911 and that 911 sent police and ambulance from Nabon but Nabon is a half hour from the main highway. There was likely a patrol car or two on the highway where it intersects with the road to Nabon and if so they may have been able to get to that area in as little as five minutes but those patrol cars are not there for anything related to crime.

        • Galileo

          I could even believe that the original intruders came under fire and hauled butt away immediately. Hearing the shots other fine upstanding citizens came into the house and saw the dead man, stole the gun, and had their kids haul away all the jewelry, electronics and other stuff and put a “se venda” sign in the front yard. Be on the look out for a “yard sale” next door this week.

          • Al Bollinger

            Hahaha……thats funny, but just too cynical….but if that is the opinion you have of your Ecuadorian neighbors pls let us know ahead of time…..Could save many of us time and money and grief………

  • Globe Trotter

    America has a culture that trains its members to violence and makes them comfy with pistols. Violence is even glorified…the sauce that goes with any expression of crime. In most countries, the burglary would have remained that only..but add an American culture to it, and something that should have been an annoyance becomes horror and death. And you would have been a happier if three Ecuadorian teenagers had died in agony as well.

    • Michael Berger

      No Globe Trotter, I would not be happier if the attackers had died. I am thrilled that they are roaming free and able to attempt to commit more crimes near where I live with my wife and daughter.

      I’ve never heard of these type of home invasion gangs in Ecuador consisting of a bunch of teenagers. For one thing there is almost always at least one Police officer on the team.

      There are aspects of the American culture that likely contributed to the outcome such as the idea of the warning shot, the idea of progressive escalation of force and the bad habit of shooting at center of mass with guns that can’t penetrate bullet-resistant vests.

  • Globe Trotter

    And I would prefer “Old man dies peacefully in his sleep at a ripe age, held the arms of his life-partner and surrounded by the beauty of Ecuador”. We come from different cultures.

  • DJones

    He would ‘most likely’ be alive, sitting with his wife, enjoying life if he didn’t have a gun.