Brazil school shooting: Police say 16-year-old suspect had swastika pinned to vest during deadly attack
Brazilian police said the 16-year-old suspect who allegedly killed four people and wounded 12 others in shootings at two schools in the country’s southeast had a swastika pinned to his vest.
The unidentified teenage suspect, who was wielding a semi-automatic handgun and a revolver, allegedly carried out the attacks Friday at a public school with elementary and middle school students and a private school, both located on the same street in the small town of Aracruz, in Espirito Santo been
Three teachers and one student were killed. Five of the injured remained in hospital.
The suspect, identified as a 16-year-old boy who used to study at the public school, was arrested by police about four hours later, Espirito Santo Governor Renato Casagrande said.
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Authorities did not release the suspect’s name, but did say the teenager used his family’s car to get from one school to another and had the license plate hidden by a cloth. Security camera footage showed him wearing a bulletproof vest, according to Espirito Santo Public Security Secretary Márcio Celante.
Police said the teenager had been planning the attacks for two years
The shooter allegedly gained access to the public school’s teachers lounge after breaking a lock.
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Casagrande said the semi-automatic weapon belonged to the military police, while the revolver was a personal weapon registered in the name of the former student’s father, a military police officer.
The accused shooter is being held in a juvenile facility.
Police say the investigation is still preliminary and they can’t come to any conclusions about a motive for Friday’s shootings. They said the alleged attacker, 16, was wearing military-style clothing and a swastika, according to The Associated Press.
The suspect’s family said he has received psychiatric treatment, which had not been reported to the school.
“This shows how the culture of violence is a reality for some people, especially for young people. This is a mental health issue that society has to deal with today,” said Casagrande.
The shootings come at a time of unrest in the country, as incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro has refused to accept a narrow defeat in October elections and protests have raged in several states for weeks.
Bolsonaro has been a vocal defender of gun rights.
According to the AP, earlier this year a far-right influencer and supporter of Bolsonaro said in a podcast that a Nazi party should be created in Brazil, in order to have freedom of expression.
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The president then condemned the influencer’s comments and compared Nazism to communism.
In 2021, however, Bolsonaro took refuge in his office and posed for photos with German lawmaker Beatrix von Storch, the granddaughter of one of Hitler’s ministers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.