On the morning of 6 February 1986, Rear Admiral Cristóbal Colón de Carvajal y Maroto of the Spanish Navy was being driven to his place of work at the Navy’s School of Higher Legal Studies in his official car, together with his adjutant, Major Antonio Rodríguez-Toubes. Two ETA members were waiting for them on Calle Tambre in the El Viso district. As the official vehicle approached, they took two machine guns out of a sports bag and opened fire. The driver, Manuel Trillo, lost control of the vehicle, which collided with a stationary car. One of the terrorists then tossed a hand grenade into the car. The explosion killed the vice-admiral and the driver, and seriously wounded Major Rodríguez-Toubes.
Vice-Admiral Cristóbal Colón de Carvajal y Maroto died from a punctured heart, caused by shrapnel from the grenade. He was a direct descendant of Christopher Columbus, discoverer of America, and was being treated for lung cancer.