Brazilian police said the 16-year-old suspect who allegedly killed four people and wounded 12 others in shootings at two schools in the country’s southeast had a swastika pinned to his vest.
The unidentified teenage suspect, wielding a semi-automatic pistol and a revolver, allegedly carried out the attacks Friday at a public school with elementary and middle school students and a private school, both located on the same street in the small town of Aracruz in Holy Spirit. condition.
Three teachers and a student were killed. Five of the injured remained in the hospital.
The suspect, identified as a 16-year-old boy who used to study at the public school, was arrested by police about four hours later, Espirito Santo Gov. Renato Casagrande said.
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Authorities did not release the suspect’s name, but said the teen used his family’s car to get from one school to another and had his license plate hidden with a cloth. Security camera footage showed him wearing a bulletproof vest, according to Espirito Santo’s public security secretary, Márcio Celante.
Police said the teenager had been planning the attacks for two years.
The shooter allegedly entered the public school’s staff room after breaking a lock.
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Casagrande said the semiautomatic weapon belonged to the military police, while the revolver was a personal weapon registered to the former student’s father, a military policeman.
The accused shooter is being held in a center for juvenile delinquents.
Police say investigations are still preliminary and they cannot jump to conclusions about the motives for Friday’s shootings. They said the 16-year-old suspected shooter was wearing military-style clothing and wearing a swastika, according to The Associated Press.
The suspect’s family said he received psychiatric treatment, of which the school had not been informed.
“This shows how the culture of violence is a reality for some people, especially for young people. This is a mental health problem that society has to face today,” said Casagrande.
The shootings come at a time of turmoil in the country, as incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro has refused to accept a narrow defeat in October elections and protests have raged in several states for weeks.
Bolsonaro has been a vocal advocate for gun rights.
According to AP, earlier this year a far-right influencer and supporter of Bolsonaro said in a podcast that a Nazi party should be created in Brazil, in order to have freedom of expression.
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At the time, the president condemned the influencer’s comments and compared Nazism to communism.
In 2021, however, Bolsonaro received in his office and posed for photographs with German lawmaker Beatrix von Storch, the granddaughter of one of Hitler’s ministers.
Associated Press contributed to this report.