The shooting deaths of three doctors in Rio de Janeiro, including the brother of a left-wing federal representative, rocked Brazilian politics. In a city accustomed to violence, it sowed a sea of suspicion about the motivation for the crime. In addition to the possible political motivation, another line of inquiry accepted by Rio police is that one of the orthopedic specialists killed early Thursday morning may have been confused with a member of a militant group in the west of the city.
One of the dead Diego Ralph Bomfim, Brother of federal deputy Samia Pomfim and brother-in-law of deputy Klaber BragaBoth Socialism and the Party of Independence (PSOL). Braga is also famous for his speeches against the militias of Rio de Janeiro, far-right parapolice groups known as death squads, who are in business disputes with drug traffickers. The PSOL is part of the support base of President Lula’s government and is in charge of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples headed by Sonia Gujajara.
Marcos de Andrade, director of the Orthopedic and Traumatic Hospital of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo de las Clinicas, and Persu Ribeiro Almeida, an orthopedic and trauma specialist specializing in foot and ankle surgeries, also died. Ankles in a ferocious shootout. A fourth doctor was injured and hospitalized. They are all from São Paulo and have traveled to Rio de Janeiro to attend the International Orthopedic Congress.
Twenty scenes and many questions
According to security camera footage, the four doctors were sharing a table at a beach shop in front of the hotel where they were staying when an armed group got out of a white vehicle and fired at least twenty shots. The suspects immediately returned to the car and drove away.
There were more customers during the attack, but they were all unharmed. “There was no conversation, no shouting. They came and shot. It was very, very fast. In 30 seconds everything was already over. Then we realized that this was not a robbery. It was an execution.” said a witness from that place.
The police launched an investigation to clarify the author and motivation of the triple murder, which made a huge impact in the local press and raised countless questions. A major line of research evaluates the hypothesis of an execution The suspects opened fire and fled without taking anything..
Minister of Justice, Flavio DinoHe hinted without elaborating that it was possible Political bias is a crime, in response directed the Central Police to closely monitor the case. In another unusual move, Dino dispatched the No. 2 in the Justice Ministry, Riccardo Cappelli, to Rio to address the incident with the federal police and regional government leadership.
A new hypothesis emerged later in the afternoon that pointed to a crime by mistake: Suspect Persu Ribeiro AlmeidaOne of the victims, He was identified by the killers as Taylon de Alcantara Pereira BarbosaThe public ministry of the setting up has accused Part of the Rio das Petras militia. Barbosa was arrested in November 2020 and sentenced to 8 years and 5 months in prison. He was placed under house arrest in March this year and was released on parole ten days ago.
The investigation, part of “Operation Untouchables” targeting former military police officer Adriano da Nobrega, linked to former President Jair Bolsonaro’s family, led to his arrest. The police suspect that the killers are confused Physical similarity between Barbosa and Almeida: shaved hair, beard and glasses. This investigation is strengthened by the presence of two apartments in Barbosa’s name on Avenida Lucio Costa, close to where the murders took place.
According to the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, security footage from the crime scene indicates Almeida was the first target of the shooting. At him one of the convicts checked the execution and turned to fire fresh shots. The video shows that the victims did not notice the criminals approaching until the first shot was fired.
Ribeiro Almeida’s brother-in-law Hugo Dantas traveled from Brasilia to identify the body. “Persius studied all his life, he is a very hard working person, he has two small children, an 11-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl. A very perfect person. It was the first time he came. Went to Rio to participate in a medical congress. It was a huge death, which shocked the family, Very sad,” Dantas said in reports to Agenzia Brasil.
The capital of Fluminense, which has historically experienced high rates of violence amid clashes between drug traffickers and paramilitary groups, saw a clearly politically motivated killing in March 2018, when councilor Mariel Franco was shot dead along with her driver. Even today the identity of the intellectual writers of Franco’s death is unknown.
In 2023 alone, 12 massacres have already been recorded in the western part of Rio de Janeiro.. This is evident in a study conducted by the Fogo Cruzado Institute, which accounts for the murders of three doctors. Of the 12 massacres reviewed, 43 people were killed and seven of them were related to police operations. The Fogo Cruzado project initially evolved as an app developed by Amnesty International and launched in 2016 to track shootings.
Unanimous rejection of the policy
The political world unanimously condemned the crime, which was described as “barbaric” and flooded social networks with messages of condolence for representatives Samia Pomfim and her partner Klaber Braga. President LulaHe is recovering from hip surgery, he said He received the news of the execution with great sadness and anger Of the three doctors.
Many of his government ministers reacted in the same way and asked for those responsible to be identified as soon as possible. “This brutal crime must be thoroughly investigated and those responsible must be identified and punished,” said the head of health, Nicia Trindade, two victims’ representatives on the platform: “I know the pain of these relatives.”
The president of the National Congress, Senator Rodrigo Pacheco, stressed the “imperative” need to clarify the motivation for this “terrible case.” The demand was joined by Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, son of former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, who described the killings as “cowardly”.
PSOL state representatives Jose Josmar and Flavio Serafini demanded a quick investigation into the facts. “This is a sad moment, the family is very affected by the loss of a son at the age of 35. Our fighters are also outraged, it is important for us to understand that this is an execution, this is a barbaric crime. Demand speed from the government of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo,” said Josmer.
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