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The operation began at dawn and caused the closure of schools and stores in the popular areas of the city.
A police operation, which involves the federal Military Police, has been taking place since early Tuesday morning in the popular neighborhoods of Vila Cruzeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and has so far left 22 dead, 12 of them alleged criminals and one resident of the area.
The agents were seeking to arrest the heads of the so-called Red Command who were hiding in the complex and fired on them in the early morning, causing some 11 schools in the region to be closed.
The Military Police say 12 of the dead were criminals. A resident of the region also died, a victim of a stray bullet, identified as Gabrielle Fereira da Cunha, 41.
The Military Police explained that agents from the Special Operations Battalion (BOPE), the Federal Police (PF), and the Federal Highway Police (PRF) were shot while initiating the joint operation in the favela. Two other people were injured and were taken to Getúlio Vargas Hospital, also in Penha.
Police seized eleven rifles, four pistols, and a grenade. The PM spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Blaz, said that the clashes continue and the objective is to locate criminals from other states who are hiding in Vila Cruzeiro: "Right now we still have clashed in the forest area. In the urbanized area we are doing a sweep with police from BOPE and the Federal Highway Police".
0 crítica quando tem tiroteio entre facções... Especialistas em Segurança Pública criticam operação policial com dezenas de mortos na Vila Cruzeiro: Ação conjunta do Bope e da PRF deixou pelo 22 mortos, entre eles uma moradora https://t.co/qdViFQLbFH
0 criticism when there is a shootout between factions... Public Security specialists criticize police operation with dozens of dead in Vila Cruzeiro: Joint action by BOPE and PRF left at least 22 dead, including a resident.
According to Blaz, "We still have the objective of searching for criminals from other states who seek refuge here with this criminal faction, which acts in Vila Cruzeiro, Jacarezinho, Mangueira, Providência, and Chapadão. They are harboring criminals from other places, among them, criminals from Pará, who determined the death of more than 13 public agents this year alone".
According to Blaz, the Red Command, a criminal faction from Vila Cruzeiro, is responsible for most of the clashes in Rio de Janeiro.
"We need to dismantle this gang that is now responsible for more than 80 percent of the armed confrontations in Rio de Janeiro. This criminal faction operating there in the Vila Cruzeiro region is active in an expansionist campaign throughout our state."
The spokesman pointed out, in that sense: "We are talking about an armed confrontation in which war weapons are used, high-velocity ammunition, which travels long distances. According to information, she would have been hit right at the beginning of the operation when the criminals were attacking the police".