Rio Primary School Shooting: 13 Children Killed

Posted on April 7, 2011

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Thirteen children were killed, an official said, when a gunman opened fire at Tasso de Oliveira school in Rio de Janeiro. The killer shot himself dead when police arrived. Photograph: Antonio Scorza/AFP/Getty Images

As many as 20 pupils are feared dead after a gunman opened fire in a primary school in western Rio de Janeiro.

The vice-mayor of western Rio said 12 people had died in the shooting at Tasso da Silveira primary school, although it was not clear if that figure was accurate or included the attacker. Edmar Teixeira said the gunman was a 24-year-old former student who pretended to be giving a speech to students before opening fire with two handguns. When police appeared at the scene the gunman shot himself dead, Teixeira said. He left behind a letter outlining his motives.

One witness told the Guardian he had seen between 15 and 20 children dead or seriously wounded.

“It is a massacre, a true massacre,” said Roni de Macedo, a fireman who arrived on the scene shortly after the shooting began and dragged eight seriously injured children from the school.

“There is blood on the walls, blood on the chairs. There are 15 to 20 dead I think,” said De Macedo, who was covered in blood. “I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s like something in the United States.”

A girl is carried after nearly fainting as she leaves the school building where a gunman opened fire on children. (Sergio Moraes/Reuters)

A woman reacts outside after a school shooting killed at least 13 people in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on April 7, 2011. (Victor R. Caivano/AP)

Parents and relatives of schoolchildren try to charge through a police line outside the Tasso da Silveira. (Sergio Moraes/Reuters)

Parents and relatives of schoolchildren await outside the school. (Sergio Moraes/Reuters)

People react to a person in a police car, not seen, who they mistook for a suspect, as they stand behind police. (Victor R. Caivano/AP)

Police guard the perimeter of Tasso da Silveira school. (Victor R. Caivano/AP)

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