A group of gunmen killed Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and injured his wife at their home early Wednesday morning, sending the island nation into increased turmoil.
Moïse has caused the Caribbean country to grow more and more unstable, basically ruling by executive fiat for over two years after Haiti failed to hold elections.
Former President Michel Martelly, whom Moïse succeeded, said he was praying for first lady Martine Moïse, calling the assassination "a hard blow for our country and for Haitian democracy, which is struggling to find its way."
Joseph said Martine Moïse, 47, was shot and in a hospital. He condemned the president's killing as a "hateful, inhumane and barbaric act."
"The country's security situation is under the control of the National Police of Haiti and the Armed Forces of Haiti," Joseph said in a statement from his office. "Democracy and the republic will win."
Haiti has struggled for centuries with dictatorial control and many citizens called Moïse a tyrant.
Some local residents in the capital of Port-au-Prince said they heard a massive amount of gunfire as the armed assailants attacked the president's house.
"I thought there was an earthquake, there was so much shooting," said the woman who spoke on condition of anonymity because she fears for her life. "The president had problems with many people, but this is not how we expected him to die. This is something I wouldn't wish on any Haitian."
Several videos were circulating Wednesday morning that allegedly showed the attack from various places in the surrounding neighborhood.
Political opponents had recently called for the president to step down, arguing his term legally ended in February 2021, but the president had vehemently disagreed due to the civil unrest that followed the last election.