(QUITO, Ecuador) -- Fernando Villavicencio, a presidential candidate in Ecuador, whose campaign highlighted alleged connections between gangs and government officials, was assassinated at the end of a campaign rally in Quito on Wednesday.

He was 59 years old and was one of nine candidates running for office.

Villavicencio, who was formerly an anti-corruption journalist, was shot while leaving a school after giving an address to young supporters, officials said.

Ten people were shot, including a suspected attacker and two police officers, according to interior ministry.

A suspected attacker died of his wounds, Interior Ministry officials told ABC News. Six people were arrested so far Quito's Conocoto and San Bartolo, police said..

Wednesday's assault marked the first assassination of a presidential candidate in the history of Ecuador. The Mayor of Manta was killed last month in the streets in a killing that officials said was connection with organized crime, officials said.

President Guillermo Lasso said that the presidential elections scheduled for August 20 will not be suspended.

Lasso said in a statement that “this crime will not be unpunished." He added that “crime organizations went too far and will feel the weight of the law."

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Thank you for reading

At KMA, we attempt to be accurate in our reporting. If you see a typo or mistake in a story, please contact us by emailing