A teen gunman who killed at least four people at two schools in Brazil on Friday allegedly wore a swastika during the attack and is being investigated for possible ties to neo-Nazi groups in the country. Image courtesy of Google Maps
Nov. 26 (UPI) — A teen gunman who killed at least four people at two schools in Brazil on Friday allegedly wore a swastika during the attack and is being investigated for possible ties to neo-Nazi groups in the country.
The 16-year-old suspect, who has not been named, stormed the Primo Bitti State School in the town of Aracruz — about 375 miles northeast of Rio de Janeiro — around 9:30 a.m. on Friday, according to the Brazilian broadcaster Globo.
Márcio Celante, the Secretary of Public Security for the state of Espirito Santo, told reporters that the suspect was a former student of the Primo Bitti school who stormed a teachers’ lounge while nearly a dozen teachers were gathered inside.
The suspect then fled the building and targeted another nearby school, the Centro Educacional Praia de Coqueiral, over half a mile away.
Renato Casagrande, the state’s governor, said in a statement on Friday that the suspect was arrested.
“Our security teams caught up with the attacker who, cowardly, attacked two schools in Aracruz in the morning,” Casagrande said.
“I declared three days of official mourning as a sign of grief for the irreparable losses. We will continue to investigate the reasons and, soon, we will have new clarifications.”
Initially, three people were reported to have died but Casagrande said Saturday that a fourth victim died from her injuries. She was identified as Flávia Amboss Merçon, a 38-year-old sociology teacher.
“Unfortunately, the tragedy in Aracruz has not yet come to an end,” Casagrande said.
“With deep regret we confirm the death of another victim, teacher Flávia Amboss Merçon, aged just 38. Our solidarity hug to family and friends.”
The other three victims who were killed have been identified by Globo as 48-year-old art teacher Maria da Penha Pereira de Mello Baths, math teacher Cybelle Passos Bezerra Lara and a 12-year-old student, Selena Sagrillo.
According to Globo, the suspect has testified that he planned the attack two years ago and used guns belonging to his father, a military policeman. He also allegedly wore a Nazi symbol during the attack and is under investigation for possible ties to neo-Nazi groups in Brazil, Globo reported.
Brazil’s President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva condemned the violence in a statement on Twitter.
“With sadness I learned of the attack on schools in Aracruz, Espírito Santo,” Lula said.
“My solidarity with the families of the victims of this absurd tragedy and my support for the governor in the investigation of the case and support for the communities of the two schools affected.”