Rio family buries girl killed by stray bullet; police blamed

RIO DE JANEIRO — An 8-year-old girl who was killed by a stray bullet in a Rio de Janeiro shantytown was buried on Sunday amid allegations that she was hit by police fire.

Several hundred people attended the funeral of Ágatha Sales Félix, who died Friday after she was shot in the back while riding in a van in the Complexo do Alemao slum.

Some mourners carried a large banner that said “Stop killing us,” a reference to growing concern about the increasing use of lethal force by Brazilian police. Authorities defend their hardline tactics, saying they have contributed to a reduction in violent crime.

The death of the girl shocked many Brazilians, even though they are accustomed to high levels of violence in their society.

Justice Minister Sérgio Moro said the government has been working hard to reduce killings and “prevent such events from recurring.”

Gilmar Mendes, a judge on Brazil’s top court, said on Twitter that killings by police in the slums are “alarming” and he questioned security policies in Rio de Janeiro.

Residents and Félix’s family blame local police for her death, saying they only heard a single shot when she was hit.

Police officers, however, say they were attacked from various directions and were responding to gunfire. They have not said whether a police bullet killed Félix.

An investigation is underway. State officials said Sunday the girl’s parents, as well as the van driver and other witnesses, have testified, while police officers will testify on Monday.

There are no reports of other casualties in the incident.

Separately, a police officer died in a hospital on Sunday after he was injured in an operation in the Complexo de Alemao slum last week, the G1 news website reported. It cited local health officials.

Gov. Wilson Witzel of Rio de Janeiro state campaigned for office on promises to fight drug trafficking and corruption. In early January, days after taking office, he said police officers had been authorized to shoot and kill criminals armed with rifles.

Helicopters manned by police snipers also frequently fly over slums.

Police killed 1,075 people in the first seven months of this year in Rio state, which has a population of 17.2 million people, official figures show.

Diane Jeantet, The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Albertans get an extra free order of COVID-19 masks

Packages will be available July 13 at fast food restaurants

COVID-19 scare sees Latvia-bound troops turn around, return to Canada

Those on board face another 14 days in isolation

2 dead, 8 hurt in South Carolina nightclub shooting

Police are searching for two suspects

Ponoka RCMP lay charges following home invasion

33-year-old man who arrived on bicycle is in custody

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

P.E.I. reports three new COVID-19 cases, including one seniors’ residence employee

CHARLOTETOWN, P.E.I. — Prince Edward Island reported new COVID-19 cases for the… Continue reading

Even pandemic can’t spoil July

July. Finally. It’s seems like the last three weird months have taken… Continue reading

‘You have to show up:’ NDP MP questions virtual attendance of Alberta Tories

NDP MP McPherson says she’s disappointed Tory MPs haven’t been participating in virtual meetings

Flood warning, mandatory evacuation for people in remote Alberta hamlet

A flood warning has been issued for the rain-swollen Smoky River near the Hamlet of Watino

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, Amnesty, sex worker advocates say

‘We need to make sure the existing laws on the books aren’t enforced’

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $25 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $25 million jackpot… Continue reading

At Mount Rushmore, Trump digs deeper into nation’s divisions

MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL, S.D. — At the foot of Mount Rushmore… Continue reading

Most Read