Each morning, a Civil Guard convoy consisting of a coach, a minibus and an off-road vehicle took seventy officers, aged between 18 and 25, from the Traffic School on Calle Príncipe de Vergara to the motorcycle practice ground in Venta de la Rubia, on the outskirts of Madrid. On the morning of 14 June 1986, ETA terrorists planted a van containing 35 kilograms of explosives and various kilograms of shrapnel in Plaza de la República Dominicana. They detonated the explosives as the Civil Guard convoy was passing Number 7. Twelve civil guards were killed and a further 78 people (including officers and passers-by) were injured by the huge blast.
José Calvo Gutiérrez was originally from Barcelona, but had lived in Puertollano (Ciudad Real) since 1977 when his father, also a civil guard, was posted to the town, and it was there that he was buried. “He was studying medicine, but at Christmas he decided to end his studies. He was under a lot of pressure and wanted something more secure, so that he could pay for his own education without having to depend so much on his parents. He wanted to help them”, his friend later told the TV programme Informe Semanal.