On the morning of 25 May, 1979 two members of the terrorist group ETA, dressed in blue boiler suits and armed with machine guns and hand grenades, took up position in the vicinity of Calle Clara del Rey, in the Prosperidad district of Madrid. At around 9.15 an unescorted military vehicle approached. Inside were Lieutenant-general Luis Gomez Hortigüela, army chief of staff, Colonel Agustín Laso Corral and Colonel Jesús Ábalos Jiménez, and civilian driver Luis Gómez Borrego. As the car slowed to approach the junction, the terrorists fired two bursts of machine-gun fire and tossed a grenade into the vehicle. All four occupants were killed.
Luis Gómez Hortigüela, aged 69, was born in Burgos. He was married and had five children. One of his daughters was due to be married on the day after the attack.