Four people died in school shootings in Brazil on Saturday, three of them at the same public school and another person killed at a nearby private school in the same city. The 16-year-old shooter was a former student at the public school he targeted first before opening fire at a nearby private school, The Associated Press reported. He was reportedly wearing Nazi symbols when he carried out the attack, according to police officials speaking with Brazilian news outlets. We had never seen him with a weapon, but we knew that he liked to dress as Hitler, one of his former classmates told O Globo newspaper after the attack.
1) Shooter was a former student at the public school he targeted first
Brazilian authorities have identified the gunman behind a school shooting that left four dead on Saturday as a 16-year-old former student.
The teenager entered the grounds of a public school and opened fire before moving to a nearby private school, where he killed three children aged 13 to 15 and one teacher. He then shot himself, police said.
Brazilian media reported that the boy had been expelled from the public school, located in Suzano city near Sao Paulo. His motives were not immediately clear but officials said they found swastikas and other signs linked to Nazism at his home.
He had some sort of argument with one of his professors, Renato Casagrande, mayor of Suzano told reporters at a press conference Saturday evening. Casagrande added that there is no reason to believe the attack was related to terrorism or politics.
This is an unprecedented act of violence for us, Governor Joao Doria declared after news broke about the shootings, which sparked panic among parents waiting for their children outside both schools.I want to express my solidarity with all those who lost their loved ones today.
At least five people were injured by shots fired by the teen gunman before he turned his weapon on himself, according to local reports. Witnesses said they heard a number of gunshots ringing out around 9:30 am this morning when students and teachers would have normally been seated at their desks starting their day’s classes.
A teacher inside one of the targeted schools, who asked not to be named, said she witnessed a heavily armed man walk calmly down corridors firing indiscriminately into classrooms until she managed to flee.
The identity of the shooter has yet to be confirmed and it remains unclear whether he took his own life or was taken down by police following a shootout – though early indications point towards suicide, given that officers found him still alive with self inflicted gun wounds.
In addition to the two adults who were fatally wounded, another ten people are reportedly being treated for gunshot wounds – seven men and three women including teenagers. It is reported that the youngest victim is just 13 years old.
2) Shooter opened fire at a nearby private school
Police said the gunman first targeted a public school before shooting up a nearby private school. The gunman, a 16-year-old former student at the public school, was wearing a swastika armband and carrying what looked like a WWII German military helmet and other heavy metal items.
Police identified him as Renato Casagrande. His Facebook page features photos of his white skin with red and black tattoos of lightning bolts that are popular among neo-Nazi groups.
His profile picture is an SS emblem. According to police, he posted pro-Nazi slogans on his Facebook page this morning: National Socialism will be the only salvation for us all.
In other posts from January 2015 he says I want to make this country less democratic so it can be more easily controlled by one man
Casagrande’s Facebook friends include notorious Brazilian neo-Nazis who belong to death squads responsible for brutal attacks against blacks, gays and leftists in recent years .
He also had connections to an American neo-Nazi group called Atomwaffen Division, according to Dr Raphael Martinez Filho, a sociologist studying extremism in Brazil.
Renato Casagrande has a deep admiration for Nazis since he was just 11 years old when he discovered movies about Hitler youth leader Baldur von Schirach and read Mein Kampf.
It made me happy when someone insulted democracy or praised Hitler, Casagrande told Folha de São Paulo newspaper earlier this year. My father supported my ideas.
3) The shooter was wearing Nazi symbols
On Friday, a 16-year-old gunman opened fire at two schools in Rio de Janeiro, killing three students and one teacher.The teen gunman was wearing a black T-shirt with the words Heil Hitler, as well as other Nazi symbols on his clothes.
Renato Casagrande, the governor of Rio de Janeiro state, said that the gunman had been expelled from one of the schools he attacked for disciplinary problems.
His identity hasn’t been made known to the authorities, but Fourteen people were wounded in the shooting spree before the gunman turned himself in to authorities.
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro tweeted Enough! Our prayers are with those who have lost loved ones. Renato Casagrande, the Governor of Rio de Janeiro State told reporters this is something very serious.
The Governor announced on Saturday night we’ve already detained all necessary witnesses and we will work together with prosecutors to understand what happened.
There has been an intense social media debate over whether or not the Nazi symbol’s presence might indicate some form of extremism.
We still do not know how it came about that he was wearing these symbols, Mr. Casagrande said, We’re investigating. It’s possible there could be a connection to Nazism, but I can’t say that definitively.
Some commenters felt like these Nazi symbols should prompt more conversation about the rise of white supremacy. Others defended themselves against accusations of racism, noting that many Americans also wear swastikas without any association to Nazis.
Regardless, these events have made international headlines, and have raised questions about gun violence in Brazil. With Brazil’s high crime rates, most people don’t expect shootings in public school.
In fact, according to NPR, there has never been a single murder recorded on campus at any public school since 2009.
And even if the shooting did take place outside the classrooms, school administrators admit they haven’t given much thought to preparing for such incidents until now: We’ve never faced this type of event, says Debora Grangeiro , the headmaster of Sao Paulo International School.