Tear gas explosion at Caracas club kills 17 people - minister

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Tragedy struck inside a crowded club in Venezuela's capital, Caracas, when the detonation of a tear gas device caused a stampede leading to the death of no less than 17 people.

Reverol added that the nightclub manager had also been arrested for breaking the law against "avoiding the entry of firearms and ammunition" into establishments organizing such events.

"That's not a big space and that should not be authorised", he said.

The interior ministry ordered the nightclub to be shut down and is coordinating with the public ministry to carry out the necessary investigations.

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Julio Cesar Perdomo said his injured son told him the tear gas was launched from a bathroom and the establishment then closed the doors. They also arrested the club owner over failure to have measures to ensure no weapons or ammunition entered the club, as required by law.

Authorities have not released the name of the owner or details on the charges.

Homicide rates in Venezuela shot up during the country's spiral into economic crisis and political meltdown, and many Caracas residents refuse to go out at night.

The crime wave, coupled with a cratering economy, has extinguished much of Venezuela's once vibrant nightlife and left many families hesitant to let their teenage children out after dark.

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Most of the victims, eight of whom were under 18, were celebrating their high school graduations at the private Social Club El Paraiso in Caracas. Some parents had been hesitant to let their children attend.

"I am asking for justice", she said.

"She fell to the ground", she said between wails, "and all the kids stumbled over her".

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