Virginia cardiologist shot and killed while on vacation in Belize

Andrea Mandell

A trip to Belize turned deadly for a prominent Virginia doctor.

According to the Roanoke Times, the body of 53-year-old Gary Swank, a cardiologist at Virginia Tech's Carilion Clinic, was found floating face down with several gunshot wounds over the weekend in a lagoon in San Pedro.

Swank, who also taught at Virginia Tech's medical school, was traveling in the Central American nation with his wife and children, neighbors told local news station WSLS

The avid fly fisherman had chartered a day trip with a local tour guide, 53-year-old Mario Graniel, who was also fatally shot on the fishing expedition.

Belize Police Commissioner Chester Williams said in a press conference Monday the tour guide had a disagreement with a local gang kingpin, and that Swank was a "victim of circumstance," according to a recording from the San Pedro Sun newspaper.

More: Another American has died in the Dominican Republic, bringing total to at least 8 in 2019

On Monday, the Carilion Clinic where Swank worked tweeted a statement recognizing the slain doctor.

"Today we learned the tragic news that Carilion interventional cardiologist Dr. Gary Swank was found murdered in Belize, along with a local tour guide," the statement read. "The entire Carilion family extends our heartfelt thoughts and support to his beloved family."

The State Department confirmed Swank's death to NBC News. Sen. Mark Warner said his office is monitoring the case.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Virginia cardiologist shot and killed while on vacation in Belize