Brazil: At least 24 killed during gun battle between police and Rio de Janeiro drug gang


As many as 25 people, including a cop who was shot in the head, have been reported dead after the police and a gang investigated for drug trafficking were involved in a broad daylight shooting in a Rio de Janeiro favela on Thursday.

The Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro were in the midst of an operation against members of the Comando Vermelho, drug trafficking network, when they were met with fire in the slum of Jacarezinho.

Police said that 24 gang suspects were killed in the gun battle. 

Police chief Rodrigo Oliveira told reporters that two of the gunmen were shot dead after they attacked cops inspecting the site where other gang members had been killed.

The fallen officer was identified as André Frias, 45, according to Brazilian newspaper  Correio Braziliense. Frias was assigned to the Drug Enforcement Office. 

Authorities said two cops were injured in the gun battle.  

Security forces recovered six rifles, a machine gun, anti-aircraft ammunition, 14 grenades and 15 guns.

A man is pushed on a wheelchair after he was shot in the right arm during a shootout between the police and a drug trafficking gang in Rio de Janeiro’s slum of Jacarezinho on Thursday. At least 25 people have been reported dead, including a 45-year-old police officer

Police get out of an armored vehicle during an operation against alleged drug traffickers in Jacarezinho, a favela of Rio de Janeiro, on Thursday

Police get out of an armored vehicle during an operation against alleged drug traffickers in Jacarezinho, a favela of Rio de Janeiro, on Thursday

Rafael M. Silva, 33 and Humberto Gomes V. Duarte, 20, were riding inside a Line 2 train wagon when they were shot while the train was stopped at a neighborhood subway station. 

Silva was taken Salgado Filho Hospital, but abandoned the facility for unknown reasons. Gomes V. Duarte was rushed to Hospital da Marinha and was listed in stable condition. 

A resident caught in the crossfire was struck in the foot while sitting inside their home. 

Video footage recorded by a resident showed the moments cops chased after suspects as shots were exchanged. 

A helicopter with Brazilian online news portal G1  showed armed suspects running away from the police by jumping over the roofs of several buildings in the slum. 

Alleged members of a gang seek refuge on a building roof while running from the police after a shootout left 25 people dead, including a police officer

Alleged members of a gang seek refuge on a building roof while running from the police after a shootout left 25 people dead, including a police officer

A train passengers sits back on a chair awaiting treatment after he was injured during a shooting in the northern Rio de Janeiro slum of Jacarezinho

A train passengers sits back on a chair awaiting treatment after he was injured during a shooting in the northern Rio de Janeiro slum of Jacarezinho

It’s the highest amount of casualties reported during a police investigation since online portal Fogo Cruzado started tracking armed conflicts in July 2016.

The police was investigating 21 gang members for allegedly recruiting children to commit crimes on its behalf. The minors were tasked with robbing passengers on train cars and platforms, as well as peddling drugs in the streets. 

Due to the pandemic, the Supreme Court in June 2020 issued an order that suspended the execution of police raids in favelas. Only under extreme circumstances were large scales operations allowed to take place. 

G1 reported that the Civil Police had identified 21 gang members through phone taps approved by a court. 

The gang members were apparently armed with military gear and protected their turf with an arsenal of grenades, guns and rifles.  

A Rio de Janeiro Civil Police operation against drug trafficking in the slum of Jacarezinho left 25 people dead and provoked intense gunfire Thursday morning

A Rio de Janeiro Civil Police operation against drug trafficking in the slum of Jacarezinho left 25 people dead and provoked intense gunfire Thursday morning

Still image from a video recorded by a resident in the northern Rio de Janeiro slum of Jacarezinho shows police officers running after members of a drug trafficking ring as shots were fired. The police was investigating the gang for recruiting children to commit crimes on its behalf

Still image from a video recorded by a resident in the northern Rio de Janeiro slum of Jacarezinho shows police officers running after members of a drug trafficking ring as shots were fired. The police was investigating the gang for recruiting children to commit crimes on its behalf

Ignacio and Michelle were unable to leave their home and made it late to the wedding registry office at the city hall building in the Rio de Janeiro town of Méier due to a shootout in the slum of Jacarezinho that left 25 people dead on Thursday

Ignacio and Michelle were unable to leave their home and made it late to the wedding registry office at the city hall building in the Rio de Janeiro town of Méier due to a shootout in the slum of Jacarezinho that left 25 people dead on Thursday

Residents in the northern Rio de Janeiro slum told the outlet that casualties far exceed the 25 initially announced by authorities, who reportedly confiscated cellphone from individuals who were sending text messages to alert neighborhood drug dealers.

A man said that at least two people were shot dead after they barged into the home he shares with his grandmother.

A section of the floor inside on the rooms was stained with blood.

‘There never is respect for the residents. This is a population, but I think they think they are in Iraq,’ he said. ‘We are arranging for the sale (of the house) as soon as possible. It is no longer possible to live within the community.’

The morning shooting trapped neighborhood residents inside their homes, including a couple identified as Michelle and Ignacio, whose wedding was set to take place at 9am local time at the Méier city hall registry office. 



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