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Police: Brazilian school shooter wore swastika, attack planned


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BRASILIA, Brazil — A former student armed with a semi-automatic pistol and a revolver who killed three people and injured 13 at two schools in Brazil had a swastika pinned to his jacket and planned the attacks for two years, police said.

The shooting took place on 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 the southern state of Espirito Santo. -eastern Brazil. Two teachers and a student were killed.

About four hours later, the shooter, identified as a 16-year-old boy who was studying at public school, was arrested by police, Espirito Santo Governor Renato Casagrande said. Authorities have not released the name of the suspect.

Authorities say the teenager used his family’s car to get from school to school, and had the license plate hidden by a rag.

Security camera footage showed him wearing a bulletproof vest, according to Espirito Santo’s public security secretary, Márcio Celante. The shooter gained access to the public school’s teachers’ lounge after breaking a lock.

Casagrande said the semi-automatic weapon belonged to the military police, while the revolver was a personal weapon registered in the name of the former student’s father, a military police officer.

The shooter is being held in a facility for juvenile offenders.

Attacks on schools are rare in Brazil, but have occurred with somewhat higher frequency in recent years.

Not far from the site of Friday’s attacks, in the city of Vitoria, a former student entered his school with homemade explosives and knives in August. No student or teacher was injured.

A month later, in the northeast state of Bahia, another teenager fired his father’s gun and killed a student in a wheelchair.

The two attackers had met online in chat groups, police later concluded.

In 2019, two former students entered their school and killed eight people in the town of Suzano, in the state of Sao Paulo. Later, they committed suicide. Friends told police they were both obsessed with the 1999 Columbine shootings in the United States.

Police said investigations were still preliminary and they could not draw any conclusions about the motives for Friday’s shooting. But they said the 16-year-old attacker was wearing military-style clothing and a swastika.

The family said he had received psychiatric treatment, of which the school had not been informed.

“It shows how the culture of violence is a reality for some people, especially young people. It’s a mental health issue that society has to deal with these days,” Casagrande said.

President Jair Bolsonaro has been a strong advocate for gun rights. Experts say that over the past four years, more than 40 decrees have made it easier for Brazilians to buy and register guns. The Sou da Paz Institute, a civil society organization, said in a report in September that Brazilians buy more than a thousand guns a day.

Earlier this year, a far-right influencer and Bolsonaro supporter said in a podcast that a Nazi party should be created in Brazil, in order to have freedom of speech.

At the time, the president condemned the influencer’s comments and compared Nazism to communism. But in 2021, Bolsonaro hosted in his office and posed for photos with German lawmaker Beatrix von Storch, who is the granddaughter of one of Hitler’s ministers.

washingtonpost Gt

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