Brazil reels from school shooting tragedy

2011-04-08 09:23
TV grab of Wellington Menezes de Oliveira who burst into his former Rio school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and opened fire, killing 12 children. (Vanderlei Almeida, AFP)

TV grab of Wellington Menezes de Oliveira who burst into his former Rio school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and opened fire, killing 12 children. (Vanderlei Almeida, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Rio de Janeiro - A disturbed young Brazilian man on a suicide mission shot dead 10 girls and two boys on Thursday at his former elementary school in Rio de Janeiro.

Wellington Menezes de Oliveira, aged 24, also shot and wounded 12 others - many in the head - and only stopped firing when he was shot in the leg by a police officer and turned one of his revolvers on himself, officials said.

The death toll was raised late on Thursday as a 13-year-old boy had succumbed to his injuries, health officials told local media.

A rambling, religiously themed suicide note was found in his clothes but it shed little light on the motivation of his macabre attack on defenceless young children, aged between nine and 15, as they arrived for morning class.

President Dilma Rousseff, who only took office in January, could not hold back the tears as she shared her grief with a nation struggling to comprehend what is the worst school shooting in Brazil's history.

"It's not common for this country to see such a crime. This is not representative of the country. Innocent children lost their lives and their future," she said.

Shooter 'well dressed'

Her voice cracked as she asked people to stand for a minute's silence, "so that we may pay our respects to these little Brazilians whose lives were taken away prematurely".

Police cordoned off the three-story building in Rio's Realengo district as they interviewed residents and parents to find out what happened, while a local hospital called for people to give blood.

"Employees of the school told officers the young man arrived well-dressed and carrying a backpack and said he told them he had been invited to speak with students for a conference," explained fire spokesperson Evandro Bezerra.

"That's how he gained access to the third floor," where he attacked at least one classroom, sending terrified students running out of the building, Bezerra said, adding: "He came to the school prepared to do what he did."

Officials said police officers patrolling nearby had averted an even greater massacre at the school, which caters for about 400 pupils.

"If the police had not arrived so quickly the tragedy would have been much worse, because the man had a lot of ammunition and was carrying two handguns," military police spokesperson Djalma Beltrame said.

Disturbed

"An officer who arrived at the school injured him in an exchange of gunfire, but the man killed himself with a shot to the head."

Menezes de Oliveira's parents said their adopted son had left home eight months previously.

A bizarre letter found on his dead body showed the killer's clearly disturbed mindset and confirmed he had embarked on a premeditated suicide mission.

"They must know that the impure cannot touch me without gloves, only the chaste or those who lost their chastity after marriage and were not involved in adultery will be able to touch me without gloves," it said.

"Nothing that is impure can touch my blood," the letter continued, leaving instructions for his body to be undressed, cleaned and then wrapped in a white shroud he took with him to the school.

The note, which he signed, also expressed his desire to be buried next to his adopted mother and asked that "his tomb be visited by a loyal follower of God to pray before my burial asking God forgiveness for what I have done".

Pupils scared

Pamela Cristina Ferreira was on the third floor when she heard gunfire and raced down the stairs to the auditorium with many other terrified pupils.

"I'm scared to go back to school," the 13-year-old, who escaped but lost her friend Larissa and nine other classmates, said.

"We blocked the auditorium doors with barricades," she said. "We were all in a panic, but we calmed down when we saw the police."

Rio state health minister Sergio Cortes told national broadcaster Agencia Brasil those killed were nine girls and one boy.

Education Minister Fernando Haddad described the attack as "an unprecedented tragedy in Brazil", adding that "this is a day of mourning for all Brazilian education".

Violence plagues many South American countries but school shootings are extremely rare. The last high-profile incident was at a school in Argentina in September 2004, when a 15-year-old student shot dead three classmates.

Read more on:    brazil
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Saturday Cape Town - 06:47 AM
    Road name: M3 Southbound
    ROAD CLOSED between Hospital Bend and Rhodes Avenue until 8 am
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900

The Blackberry Bold Touch 9900 is as the name says...

From R3565.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.