Victims killed, injured during school shooting in Brazil

The dead included two teachers and six students, and several other people had been hospitalized after sustaining injuries, according to Gov. Joao Doria, speaking a few blocks from the public school.

Police work at the scene of a shooting at a school in Suzano, Sao Paulo metropolitan region, Brazil, on March 13, 2019.

The shooting happened at about 09:30 local time (12:30 GMT) when the students were in a break at the state school in Suzano, near São Paulo.

It is not clear the motive of the shooting, police say. The students who died were mostly 15 and 16 years old.

Despite Brazil being one of the world's most violent countries, school shootings are rare.

In April 2011, a former pupil killed a dozen school children and injured many more before turning his gun on himself at a school in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro.

Gun laws are extremely strict in Brazil, but it is not hard to illegally purchase a weapon.

However, current Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro signed a temporary decree in January that made it easier for citizens to buy guns in an effort to overturn the strict regulations of the past.

Standing outside the school, Claudio Cabral said he had been trying to reach his nephew, 17-year-old Douglas Mourinho, so far without luck.

"Then a lot of kids started running out, all screaming", he said. "I only left when the police arrived".

"We can't let those who take advantage of this tragedy speak about how disarmament is the solution", he tweeted, adding: "Weak and shameful 'disarmament farce, ' which gave guns to criminals and prevented self-defence".

"I put my cell phone into his hand and he typed, with his dirty hands trembling, that he wanted me to call his mom", Gonçalves said.

Salles said the gunmen used at least one.38 caliber pistol and speed loaders, along with a crossbow and a compound bow and arrow.

"The school is on lockdown", he said. "It is the saddest thing I have seen in my life".

  • Rogelio Becker