Schumer calls on ATF to investigate Americans' deaths in Dominican Republic

Schumer calls on ATF to investigate Americans' deaths in Dominican Republic
© Aaron Schwartz

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall Pelosi: 'People are dying' because McConnell won't bring up gun legislation MORE (D-N.Y.) is asking for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to investigate recent deaths of Americans vacationing in the Dominican Republic.

Schumer on Sunday said the agency should look into the deaths of at least eight Americans who died in the Dominican Republic this year after friends and family members of the deceased tourists called for an investigation.

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“Given that we still have a whole lot of questions and very few answers into just what, if anything, is cause for the recent spate of sicknesses and several deaths of Americans in the Dominican Republic, the feds should double their efforts on helping get to the bottom of things,” Schumer said in a statement to The Hill.

A spokesperson for the ATF was not available for comment on Sunday. 

The Associated Press first reported on the developments.

A New Jersey man, Joseph Allen, 55, two weeks ago became the eighth American reported to have died while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. 

The FBI joined an investigation into the deaths earlier this month. 

In a statement, Robin Bernstein, the U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic, said the embassy is “actively working with the Government of the Dominican Republic and the private sector at the highest levels to ensure that U.S. citizens are safe and feel safe” while in the country. 

A Dominican Republic official earlier this month denied there's a connection between the deaths, according to the AP. 

Francisco Javier García, the tourism minister in the Dominican Republic, said the deaths are a statistical phenomenon lumped together by the U.S. media, the news service reported.

--This report was updated at 1:32 p.m.