"Operations in shantytowns put lives of the entire population at risk... spend a lot of money, and do not solve any security problem, ” said Rio de Janeiro's ombudsman.
In the early hours of Tuesday, a joint operation by the Special Police Operations Battalion (BOPE) and the Federal Highway Police (PRF) left 11 citizen dead in Rio de Janeiro's Vila Cruzeiro shantytown.
According to the official version of events, the operation sought to arrest criminal leaders who were hiding in the upper part of the neighborhood, from where they shot at the police when they tried to enter the community.
After an armed confrontation in a wooded area, the police said they "found" 11 wounded criminals, who were sent to the Getulio Vargas Hospital. Doctors, however, claim that they received 12 people shot on Tuesday morning, 11 of whom died in the ER.
During the operation, the BOPE and the PRF seized seven rifles, four pistols, ten motorcycles, and six cars, which would have been used by criminals to flee.
Manhã de pânico no Rio: ao menos 11 pessoas foram mortas durante uma operação policial na Vila Cruzeiro (RJ), na Penha, nesta 3ª feira. 11 escolas estão fechadas por causa do tiroteio. Esta é a maior chacina do ano (quando há 3 ou mais mortos). Veja o que se sabe até agora #fio pic.twitter.com/VLmDYhqYV9— Instituto Fogo Cruzado (@fogocruzado) May 24, 2022
The tweet reads, "Panic morning in Rio: at least 11 people were killed during a police operation in Vila Cruzeiro, in Penha, in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Eleven schools are closed due to the shooting. This is the largest massacre of the year. Look at what is known so far."
The operation in Vila Cruzeiro occurs a few weeks after the anniversary of the massacre in Jacarezinho, which occurred in May 2021, when the Civil Police left 28 dead. Today's raid was immediately criticized by some local authorities and human rights defenders.
“No one deserves to go through this. Police operations in shantytowns put lives of the entire population at risk, impede the operation of public services and commerce, make it impossible for thousands of people to go to work and study, spend a lot of money, and do not solve any security problem, ” said Guilherme Pimentel, Rio de Janeiro's ombudsman.
"A resident was killed by a stray bullet. Gabriele Ferreira da Cunha, 41, was at the entrance to Chatuba, which is next to Vila Cruzeiro, and died at the time," outlet G1 reported.