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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti—Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, who was assassinated last week in a killing that has plunged this impoverished island nation into turmoil, had few guards outside his private residence on most days, say neighbors and those who knew him.

The assassination was carried out at about 1 a.m. on Wednesday. The assailants broke in, subdued Mr. Moïse’s guards and housekeeping staff, then shot the president 12 times—with one shot directly in his forehead, according to investigators. His eye had also been gouged out, the investigators said.

Neighbor Philogene Charles, 40 years old, said Mr. Moïse’s presence had given a sense of calm to the city’s Pelerin 5 district, where upscale mansions share a hillside with crowded slums. Suspicions and theories have flourished about the killing, including that it was an inside job and not a hit by foreign mercenaries, as government officials have said.

“Nobody other than the president and his wife has a scratch on them. How can that be?” said Ms. Charles.

Haiti’s police chief, Leon Charles, who isn’t related to the neighbor, said Sunday that a 63-year-old doctor, Christian Emmanuel Sanon, was arrested here for allegedly recruiting the foreign mercenaries. Mr. Sanon couldn’t be reached for comment. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had a lawyer.

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