A senior police chief who co-founded Nicaragua's modern police service was murdered in front of his home by unidentified gunmen on Thursday, officials said.
Police commissioner Buenaventura Miranda, 57, was killed late Wednesday in the city of Boaco, 75 kilometres northwest of the capital city Managua, where he was in charge of the regional department.
Miranda helped set up the country's police force when it was formed 37 years ago after left-wing Sandinista rebels took charge. He sat on the National Police Council which ran policing matters across the country.
Unlike its northern neighbors in Central America, Nicaragua does not suffer rampant gang-related crime and is generally considered one of the safer countries in the region.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said organized crime and drug smuggling were an "outside destabilizing factor that has cost the lives of many Nicaraguans and the lives of many police brothers."
Authorities are investigating the possibility he was gunned down by criminals.
President Ortega described the murder as a "cowardly attack."
Nicaragua's national police chief, Aminta Granera, vowed the perpetrators would be caught and punished.
"Wherever they are, we will look for them until they are brought to justice," she said.