A version of this article originally appeared on VICE Brazil.
On Wednesday, two hooded and masked men opened fire inside the Professor Raul Brazil State School in Suzano, a city in the Brazilian state of São Paulo. A total of ten people were killed, including five students, two teachers, one bystander, and the two shooters, who committed suicide after opening fire on the campus. An additional 23 people were wounded and taken to a nearby hospital.
Several hours after the incident occurred, Secretary of Security João Camilo de Pires Campos confirmed in a press conference that the two men responsible for the shooting were Guilherme Taucci Monteiro, 17, and Henrique de Castro, 25, both of whom were former students of the school. He also confirmed that Monteiro had been expelled last year because of “problems.”
The Brazilian news website G1 interviewed witnesses in Suzano who said they saw one of the young men carrying a knife while the other had a gun. The shooting started during recess while students were eating lunch. According to one student, the two men came from behind where he was sitting with his classmates. One shooter opened fire while the other one charged at the group with a knife. One of his classmates was stabbed in the shoulder, the student said. He added that most students were able to flee the scene because the gun ran out of bullets and the shooter had to reload.
The Brazilian police confirmed that the weapons used were a .38 caliber revolver, crossbow, bow and arrow, and a hatchet. A bomb squad was called in. Camilo de Pires Campos later said that police were also investigating the possibility that one of the shooters murdered his accomplice and then shot himself. Due to earlier reports of a visible firearm near the school, they also suspect that the shooters may have created a distraction somewhere else in the vicinity in order to enter the school during recess, which would in turn give them enough time to open fire en masse. An estimated 358 middle schoolers and 693 high school students attend Raul Brazil.
João Doria, the governor of São Paulo, lamented the incident in a post on Twitter. He came to Raul Brazil to address the press, accompanied by Rossieli Soares da Silva, the state secretary of education; Colonel Salles, a military police commander; and Camilo Pires de Campos.
Sérgio Moro, the Brazilian minister of justice, called Governor Dória early in the afternoon to convey solidarity after the attack and offered support on behalf of the federal government in investigating the case. High-profile politicians took to social media to comment on the incident, including Secretary of Education Ricardo Vélez, who condemned the attack and said he would “closely follow the investigation into the facts.”
In a press conference at the Palácio de Planalto, Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourão said that he wanted to reach a conclusion to why the attack happened, and that “things like this don’t happen in Brazil, but other countries.” The vice president also said he saw no connection between the shooting and President Jair Bolsonaro’s proposal to make guns more readily available in the country, and noted that “violent video games” could have had an impact on the massacre.
Visibly absent from the initial outpouring of support and condemnation was President Bolsonaro himself. A generally avid user of Twitter, he took to the platform some five hours after the shooting to address the matter:
“I offer my condolences to the families of the victims of the inhumane [treatment] that occurred today at the Professor Raul Brazil State School in Suzano, São Paulo,” the tweet reads. “A monstrosity and cowardice beyond measure. May God comfort everyone’s heart!”
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