At midday on 3 October 1976, Juan María Araluce was on his way back to his home on Avenida de la Libertad in San Sebastián to have lunch. He was accompanied by his driver José María Elícegui Díaz and three policemen who were part of his security detail. The massacre began when Araluce opened the door of the car. A number of terrorists, who had been waiting for him in the bus shelter, started shooting, firing about a hundred rounds in all.
The president of the Provincial Government was left lying fatally injured on the pavement. He had been hit seven times — once in the leg and six times in the chest and abdomen. His driver, José María Elícegui Díaz, was shot twice in the head. The police officer driving the escort car, Alfredo García González, was killed instantly, while Deputy Inspector Antonio Palomo Pérez and police officer Luis Francisco Sanz Flores were seriously wounded and died shortly afterwards.
Some hours later, ETA claimed responsibility for the attack on the president of the Provincial Government and the other four men, to whom it referred disparagingly as “guard dogs”.
José María Elícegui Díaz had been assigned to the position a year before, when the previous driver retired. The day he was killed was due to have been his last day on the job.