The death of a teenage girl struck by "stray bullets" from the guns of police spurred controversy Friday in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro.
Maria Eduarda Alves, 13, was doing gymnastics Thursday outside her school in Rio's Pavuna neighborhood when she was hit four times — twice in the head — amid what police said was crossfire from a gunfight between officers and "bandits."
Minutes later, two cops killed a pair of suspects.
The two officers have been arrested and an investigation is under way, police said.
Maria’s death marks the third Rio resident under the age of 14 to die so far this year allegedly from the impact of stray bullets.
Maria's family expressed skepticism about the official explanation of her death.
"How is it a stray bullet, with four bullet holes in the body?" her brother, Uidison Alves, said. "It was an execution. They executed two criminals and my sister."
Ignacio Cano, a professor at Rio de Janeiro State University, said that Maria's case is having an impact because it brings together a "scandalously innocent" victim with a summary execution, characterizing police violence as "systemic and generalized."
The city suffered 1,221 homicides in the first two months of 2017, up 28 percent from the same period last year, he said.