The body of Welligton Menezes de Oliveira, (right) the gunman in today’s attack on Rio De Janeiro’s Tasso da Silveira school, was taken out of the building at about 12:20 local time, as confirmed by Fire Department officials at the site.
According to the firemen at the scene and the director of the hospital where the victims were taken, 11 children have so far died, for the most part girls aged 12-15.
“He started shooting. I crouched, and then I saw my friend was hit. He killed my friend in my classroom, ” said a young girl, who says she was in the courtyard at the time Welligton Menezes de Oliveira entered the school.
“He was well dressed. He came up to the second floor and I heard two shots. Then all students ran into their classrooms. Then he got up to the third floor where my classroom is, entered and started shooting, ” she added.
Menezes, a former student of the school apparently conversed with several people, teachers, workers, and told them he had been convinced to speak at a conference to be held at the third floor of the institution.
Witnesses say he just entered the class room, and casually pulled out a gun and opened fire on the students.
Police who happened to be near the school saw wounded students exiting the school, crying for help, and managed to surround Meneses after he got hit in the fire exchange. Meneses had a .22 and a .32 caliber hand guns, and enough backup ammunition to have created a much larger catastrophe had these officers not been around. Menezes shot himself in the head before police could apprehend him.
The deputy mayor of the West Zone, Edmar Peixoto said that Wellington Menezes left a disturbing letter in which among mad rantings, and disjointed phrases he suggested to be HIV positive, and justified his actions as some kind of fundamentalist based revenge. “He was determined to commit suicide after the tragedy,” said Colonel Djalma Beltrami. The letter was handed over to agents of the homicide division.
President Dilma Rousseff cancelled her commitments for the day and visibly shaken called for a minute of silence for the victims at a press conference.
The school has been closed, and will remain so indefinitely.
The gunman’s sister, Rosilane Menezes, said in an interview with Radio Band News, that her adoptive brother was strange, reserved and had no friends. “He was so focused on things related to Islam and had let his beard grow long. It was weird, was on the internet all day reading issues and it was very strange, very secretive,” she said.
Story continues to be in development.
Reports are just coming in that a man allegedly entered a school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday morning, and opened fire. It is being said that 11 were killed before the gunman turned the weapon on himself and took his own life.
So far, as many as 22 are reported injured, as officials are still on the scene trying to piece together the details, like why the man was in the school, though AFP is reporting that the shooter was the father of one of the students. Police have not yet confirmed this.
Rio Military Police spokewoman only said, “The person entered, and fired shots.”
Local television crews show at least hundreds of people outside the school building.
Read more at AFP →