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Suspect detained in Brazil school shooting

Police officers stand guard at a school in Suzano, Brazil, hours after a school shooting on March 13, 2019, that left 10 dead, including the two perpetrators, and 11 wounded. EPA-EFE/File

Police officers stand guard at a school in Suzano, Brazil, hours after a school shooting on March 13, 2019, that left 10 dead, including the two perpetrators, and 11 wounded. EPA-EFE/File

EFE

Brazilian police on Tuesday arrested a suspect for his alleged role in planning a school shooting last week outside this metropolis that left 10 dead - including the two gunmen - and 11 wounded, authorities said.

The 17-year-old male suspect was arrested at his home and will be held at a juvenile detention center for a minimum of 45 days.

A juvenile court issued the arrest warrant at the request of the Attorney General’s Office, sources from that latter institution told EFE.

The minor, who has not been identified, was a classmate at the Raul Brasil school of 17-year-old Guilherme, who along with 25-year-old Luiz Henrique de Castro killed five students, a school administrator and a teacher on the grounds of that educational establishment last Wednesday before turning the guns on themselves.

The attackers had earlier killed Guilherme’s uncle at a car-rental agency, where they stole a vehicle and drove it to the school located in Suzano, a community of more than 285,000 people located 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of Sao Paulo.

The suspect detained on Tuesday was questioned by police last week; he denied any involvement in the shooting and was subsequently released due to lack of evidence.

Police, however, concluded based on an analysis of the three individuals’ cellphone conversations that they jointly planned the massacre.

The AG’s office also requested the suspect’s arrest based on evidence police had gathered in searches of his home.

Authorities furthermore are looking into surveillance video from a store on Sao Paulo’s east side, where apparently one of the shooters purchased items used in the attack.

The focus of that line of investigation is on whether the suspect detained on Tuesday helped with those purchases.

Police say the perpetrators’ motive was a desire for notoriety.

“They wanted to show they could act like (the shooters) in Columbine, in the United States, with cruelty and provoking a tragedy so they’d gain more recognition,” the chief of Sao Paulo’s Civil Police force, Ruy Ferraz Fontes, said.

The tragedy at Suzano bears some resemblance to the April 20, 1999, massacre at the Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado.

The shooting rampage in Columbine was carried out by two students at that school who murdered 13 people - 12 students and a teacher - and wounded more than 20 others before committing suicide.


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