Officer José Ángel Álvarez Suárez, who was on a day’s leave, was strolling through the streets adjoining the La Brecha market in the centre of San Sebastián in the middle of the day. He was dressed in civilian clothes and was unarmed. An ETA gunman approached him from behind and shot him once in the head. The policeman was killed instantly.
José Ángel Álvarez was shot by ETA four days before the official launch of the 1989 election campaign.
The City Council of San Sebastián for the first time organized a demonstration to condemn the murder, the first of its kind staged by the council in protest at the killing of a member of the state security forces. It was attended by 2,500 people. One of the perpetrators, ETA member Francisco Javier Balerdi, was convicted of a further four murders. On his release from prison, a large crowd turned out to welcome him back to San Sebastian.