Gunman kills 11 at Rio de Janeiro school before killing self

April 7th, 2011 - 11:52 pm ICT by BNO News  

RIO DE JANEIRO (BNO NEWS) — A gunman opened fire at a school in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro on Thursday morning, killing at least 11 people and injuring many more, state-run media reported.

According to the state-run Agencia Brasil, a 23-year-old man opened fired at the Escola Municipal Tasso da Silveira school in the western Realengo area of Rio de Janeiro.

Wellington Menezes de Oliveira, a former student of the school, shot without notice over 28 people, 11 fatally, before killing himself. Among the victims there were ten boys and one girl.

In addition, at least 17 students were injured and transported to local hospitals. Initially, 12 fatal victims were reported but Sergio Cortes, director of the State’s Health Department, corrected the number.

The body of the gunman was found along two .38 caliber pistols and a suicide note which explained the motive for the killing spree. Details from the letter were not immediately released.

However, authorities said that it seemed that the gunman was mentally ill. His sister, Roselaine, 49, said she had not seen Menezes de Oliveira for seven months. In addition, it was revealed that he visited the school one year ago which may indicate that the massacre was being planned since then.

De Oliveira entered the school without troubles as he had his student identification and said he was about to give a lecture. The gunman reportedly studied at Tasso da Silveira school in 1998.

A military policeman, Sergeant Alves, who was in the area after an operation was attracted to the school due to the cries of children. He entered the building and exchanged gunfire with the attacker. He was later congratulated and called a hero by Rio de Janeiro Governor Sergio Cabral.

Robson de Carvalho, 48, a technician, was phoned by his daughter in regards to the shooting. He quickly arrived to the school and rescued his two girls. He then rescued at least ten children who were injured; six of them were in very serious condition after being shot in the head.

After the shooting, which occurred in a classroom in the first floor of the school, police officers surrounded the building and the gunman attempted to flee. However, after a fire exchange with law agents he sustained a gunshot to the leg and decided to shot himself in the head.

Governor Cabral pledged full support to the victims’ relatives and called De Oliveira a “psychopath” and “animal.” Brazilian President Rousseff directed Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo to initiate a thorough investigation.

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