Nation wonders why school shooting happened
A SÃo Paulo suburb prepared to bury its dead yesterday while looking for reasons why two masked former students armed with a handgun, knives, axes and crossbows killed five teenagers and two adults at a school before killing themselves as police closed in.
Authorities said the pair also fatally shot the owner of a used-car business nearby before launching the attack Wednesday on the Professor Raul Brasil school in Suzano, a suburb of Brazil’s largest city.
Brazil has the largest number of annual homicides in the world, but school shootings are rare. In 2011, 12 students were killed by a gunman who roamed the halls of a school in Rio de Janeiro.
Besides the five students killed on Wednesday, the dead included a teacher and a school administrator, said João Camilo Pires de Campos, the state’s public secretary. Nine others were wounded in the school attack, he said.
“This is the saddest day of my life,” de Campos told reporters outside the school in the São Paulo suburb of Suzano.
The dead students were to be buried yesterday.
Authorities identified the attackers as 17-year-old Guilherme Taucci Monteiro and 25-year-old Henrique de Castro.
“The big question is: What was the motivation of these former students?” de Campos said.
Monteiro’s mother, Tatiana Taucci, offered a possible answer, telling Band News, while hiding her face from the camera, that her son had been bullied at the school.
“Bullying, they call it. ... He stopped going to school ... because of this,” she said.
She said she was surprised by his involvement and found out about the attack from the television like everyone else.
Minutes before the attack, Monteiro posted 26 photos on his Facebook page, including several with a gun and one that showed him giving the middle finger as he looked into the camera.
In some of the photos, he wore a black scarf with a white imprint of a skull and crossbones. No text accompanied the posts.
By Wednesday afternoon, Facebook had taken down Monteiro’s page.
During the attack, Monteiro opened fire with a .38 calibre handgun and de Castro used a crossbow, de Campos said. He said forensics would determine how each of the victims died.
The attackers were also carrying Molotov cocktails, knives and small axes, authorities said.
“In 34 years as a policeman, it’s the first time I see someone use a crossbow like that,” police Colonel Marcelo Salles said. “It is horrendous.”
The assailants were trying to force their way inside a room at the back of the school, where many students were hiding, when police arrived. Instead of facing officers, Monteiro shot de Castro in the head and then shot himself, authorities said.