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  HOME | Brazil (Click here for more)

Deaths in Police-Involved Shootout Spark Disturbances in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO – Disturbances erupted on Friday in the Rio shantytown of Mangueira after a woman and her daughter were killed by stray bullets during a shootout between police and suspects near Brazil’s iconic Maracana soccer stadium.

Marlene Maria da Conceição, 76, was shot while walking to work and her daughter, 42-year-old Ana Cristina da Conceição, received fatal wounds when she came to her mother’s aid, authorities said.

“I can’t believe it. We are approaching almost three hours” of gunfire, Ana Cristina said on her Facebook page in a message posted minutes before she was shot.

A month ago, she wrote on Facebook: “many shots. God protect us here in Mangueira.”

Friday’s battle began when drug dealers opened fire on offices, police said.

Residents of Mangueira reacted to the deaths of the women by burning a bus and setting fire to tires piled on the main road into the community.

Additional police units were sent to the area following the disturbances.

The deaths in Mangueira come after the confirmation earlier this week that the bullets which killed a 13-year-old girl in March as she was exercising in a schoolyard on the north side of Rio de Janeiro were fired by a police officer.

The city experiences an average of 15 shooting incidents per day and more than 70 bystanders have been killed in the cross-fire so far this year.

On Thursday, nearly 200 police officers and suspected drug traffickers were arrested in the largest-ever operation against police corruption in Brazil’s second city.

Roughly half of those arrested are cops currently or formerly assigned to the São Gonçalo district of the Rio Metropolitan region, news Web site G1 said.

The officers – all members of the militarized Rio de Janeiro state police – are accused of accepting around 1 million reais ($300,000) monthly from gangs that operate in the area, G1 said.

Investigators found the crooked cops provided services to traffickers that ranged from “facilitating” transactions to escorting drug shipments and procuring weapons.

 

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