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Gun used to kill shaman was purchased by Canadian man lynched in Peru: authorities

Click to play video 'Friends of Sebastian Woodroffe say Peru mob killed the wrong man' Friends of Sebastian Woodroffe say Peru mob killed the wrong man
WATCH: Friends of Sebastian Woodroffe say Peru lynch mob killed the wrong man – Apr 23, 2018

Peruvian authorities say the gun used to kill an Indigenous shaman and cultural activist matches the weapon purchased a few weeks earlier by a Canadian man who was lynched in a remote village in the Amazon rainforest.

Sebastian Woodroffe, 41, was slain on April 20 after villagers accused him of being responsible for the shooting death of Olivia Arévalo, an elderly plant medicine healer hailing from the Shipibo-Konibo tribe of northeastern Peru.

A harrowing cellphone video showed a bloodied Woodroffe being violently dragged by a rope fastened around his neck, days after Arévalo was shot dead in her home. Two people were arrested in connection with his death.

READ MORE: Canadian man killed in Peru after being accused of murdering Indigenous healer

On Thursday, Peru’s Public Ministry tweeted a photo of the gun that was used to kill Arévalo, saying it matches the weapon purchased by Woodroffe on April 3.

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Woodroffe purchased the 9 mm Taurus pistol from a policeman after telling him that he needed it for self-defense, according to Peruvian newspaper El Comercio. The gun was found in the vicinity of Woodroffe’s corpse and his motorcycle.

A photo of the gun that Peruvian authorities was used to kill shaman Olivia Arevalo less than a month after it was purchased by Canadian citizen Sebastian Woodroffe.
A photo of the gun that Peruvian authorities was used to kill shaman Olivia Arevalo less than a month after it was purchased by Canadian citizen Sebastian Woodroffe. Ministerio Publico del Peru (Public Ministry of Peru) / Twitter

El Comercio also reported that police were considering a number of motives for Woodroffe’s alleged crime, including that he may have murdered Arévalo because she declined to follow through with promised ayahuasca healing sessions that he had paid for, or that Arévalo’s son owed Woodroffe money.

READ MORE: B.C. man identified as victim killed by vigilante mob in Peru

Ayahuasca is a psychoactive, plant-based brew that has been used in Amazonian spiritual practice for centuries but has gained popularity among Westerners in recent years, with thousands of North American tourists flocking to Peru each year to partake in shaman-led ayahuasca ceremonies.

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Woodroffe, who hailed from B.C.’s Comox Valley, was believed to be a student of Arévalo’s and had traveled to Peru to study hallucinogenic medicine.

His friends told Global News they’re certain he was falsely blamed for Arévalo’s death, saying it would have been hugely out of character for him to commit any sort of violent act.

READ MORE: Hallucinogen that heals? One B.C. psychotherapist’s experience with ayahuasca

Arévalo’s murder had prompted outrage in Peru following other unsolved murders of Indigenous activists who had repeatedly faced death threats related to efforts to keep illegal loggers and oil palm growers off native lands.

Policing is scant over much of the Peruvian Andes and Amazon and villagers in far-flung provinces often punish suspected criminals according to local customs and without the involvement of state police and prosecutors.

Peruvian authorities say they continue to investigate the killings of both Woodroffe and Arévalo.

— With files from Reuters and Global News online producer Amy Judd