Police action leaves 20 dead in Alemão, says Ombudsman

The Ombudsman of the Public Defender’s Office of Rio de Janeiro says that at least 20 people died today during a police operation in Complexo do Alemão, north of Rio. The operation was carried out with teams from the BOPE (Special Operations Battalion) of the Military Police and the Core (Coordination of Operations and Special Resources) of the Civil Police. As of 5:20 pm, the Military Police confirmed only five of these deaths.

Guilherme Pimentel, public defender’s ombudsman, says he raised the number with the director of the UPA (Emergency Care Unit) in Alemão — where 15 bodies arrived — and the social assistance team at the Getúlio Vargas State Hospital — where 5 bodies arrived, including of a military policeman. Throughout this afternoon, residents took bodies to health units.

Two of the victims have known identities: Letícia Salles, 50, who was shot in a car, and police officer Bruno de Paula Costa. According to the PM, Corporal Costa was hit during an attack on the UPP (Pacifying Police Unit) by criminals.

Among the five dead confirmed by the PM, the corporation says that three were criminals, but did not disclose their identification for the information to be independently verified. The Military Police called a press conference for 18:00 today.

Family accuses police over woman’s death

Leticia’s family members report that military police shot at the car she was in and hit her in the chest during the operation. Leticia was taken to a local health facility, but died.

Letícia’s family members claim that there was no shooting on the Estrada do Itararé, access to the community, when the police fired at the car in which Letícia was with her boyfriend and a cousin. The PMs did not help the woman.

Sought, the PM did not respond about the responsibility for Letícia’s death. In a statement, the corporation stated that it “follows up and fully cooperates with all procedures”.

According to the PM, four men on the run were detained in Favela da Galinha, near Alemão. The corporation also reported the seizure of a .50 machine gun (capable of taking down a helicopter), four rifles and two pistols.

After the deaths were confirmed, a demonstration by motorcycle taxi drivers was organized at the accesses to the communities. On Twitter, the Military Police stated that the act “is to guarantee an opportunity for criminals surrounded in the operation to escape”, without further explanation.

Also in a note, the corporation reported that today’s operation takes place after investigations into vehicle thefts in neighborhoods in the north and bank robberies in Niterói, Baixada Fluminense and also in the municipality of Quatis. The PM also claims that the target group of today’s operation acts in cargo and diesel oil thefts – to spill fuel on accesses to communities and make police operations difficult.

The corporation did not say whether there were arrest warrants or search and seizure warrants to be fulfilled in today’s operation.

Residents report morning of terror in Alemão

On social media, Complexo residents report a war scenario in the midst of the operation, with “bursts of gunfire” and residents being woken up by the noise of bullets.

“We are already in the safest place in our house, it’s been almost 1 hour. The shots echo in our ears. It’s too desperate. Our reality is not perfect like many people paint”, said Renata Trajano.

“My shack trembles with each grazing of this helicopter, this is not normal, trivialization of our lives is not normal”, added the co-founder of Coletivo Papo Reto.

“Many bursts of shots at this moment. The scenario is one of war. Intense shooting this morning here in Complexo do Alemão”, reported Rene Silva, founder of Voz da Comunidade.

“I just woke up with a rifle shot entering through the roof of my house and hitting my husband in the belly, because of the operation that is happening in Alemão. that the companion was grazed after the shot was first muffled by a wall.

“From here you can hear the noise of the bullet passing by”, said another resident of the Complexo, in the early hours of this morning.

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