RIO DE JANEIRO – Three people were killed on Wednesday in clashes between police and alleged drug traffickers in and around the Cidade de Deus shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian authorities said.
News Web site G1 said that the dead included Rodolfo Pereira da Silva, a.k.a. “Rodolfinho,” reputedly a major figure in the drug trade in the neighborhood that was the setting for the 2002 film “City of God.”
Police were on patrol of the Jacarepagua neighborhood, west of Cidade de Deus, when they were confronted by armed criminals.
Amid the battle, the gunmen erected barricades on the Linha Amarela, a main access road to Rio de Janeiro, forcing authorities to close the route to traffic for several hours.
Motorists caught in the crossfire dived under their vehicles for cover.
Rio’s sprawling “favelas” (shantytowns) have been beset by a surge in violent crime dating back to August 2016, when the city hosted the Olympics.
Official figures show that 6,731 murders occurred last year in Rio de Janeiro state, or 40 violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
That represented the highest level of homicides since 2009, when 7,106 murders were committed.