LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Bolivia's government is publicly apologizing and turning in a police officer accused of killing a student during a street protest.

Jonathan Quispe died last week during a demonstration demanding an increase in the budget for public universities. Thousands have demonstrated nationwide since then demanding justice.

Police initially said that Quispe was killed by a marble fired by protesters. But university authorities rejected the accusation.

Government Minister Carlos Romero said Thursday that police officer Cristian Casanova "acted of his own free will" when he modified an anti-riot tear gas weapon to shoot an unauthorized projectile made from a metal cylinder.

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Canova has recently graduated from police academy and belongs to an anti-riot unit. He was turned in to authorities in plainclothes and is being held while he awaits charges.