At midday on 3 October 1976, the president of the Provincial Government of Guipúzcoa, Juan María Araluce, was on his way back to his home on Avenida de la Libertad in San Sebastian to have lunch. He was accompanied by his chauffeur and three police officers who formed part of his escort. 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, officer 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”.
Juan María Araluce Villar (59), was the president of the Provincial Council of Guipúzcoa, a member of the Council of the Realm and a state legislator (procurador en Cortes). He was born in Santurce (Vizcaya) and was married to María Teresa Letamendía (56), with whom he had nine children. Later that same week his widow gave an interview, with her children around her, in which she said she sincerely forgave her husband’s killers.