Published: Thu, August 22, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Police fatally shoot Rio bus hostage-taker

Police fatally shoot Rio bus hostage-taker

The panoramic setting where the man made his move seemed to reflect a bid for maximum publicity in a spot with virtually no chance of escape.

Hans Moreno, a passenger on the bus, told GloboNews the man had a pistol and a knife, and never explained to passengers the reasons for his actions.

Dozens of people were trapped on the bus after it was commandeered by the gunman on a heavily transited bridge connecting Rio with the neighbouring city of Niteroi. The seized bus was coming from Sao Gonçalo, a community struggling with poverty and violence. None of the hostages were harmed.

The hostage-taking started at around 5:30 a.m. local time (0830 GMT) and lasted nearly four hours.

At the end of the standoff, the man exited the bus and flung an unidentified backpack at police around the bus. However, he would subsequently release six of the hostages during the standoff.

The sniper shot the man after he stepped outside the bus.

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The gunman's intentions were unclear and he did not make any particular demands, according to police.

Rio's elite police force known as BOPE was in charge of the negotiations, and a sniper was placed nearby. "The criminal was neutralised and no hostage was injured". In 2015, he said Brazil's military police should "kill more people".

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro took to Twitter to praise police.

Police special forces negotiated with the hijacker.

The hijacker and one hostage were killed in that incident. At one point the hostage-taker could be seen leaning out of the open door with something resembling a petrol bomb in his hand.

The gunman reportedly boarded the Rio-bound bus at 5.30 am (8.30am GMT) and began threatening passengers. The hours long hijacking of bus 174 was later turned into an award-winning documentary. The hostages have been released unharmed, and the hijacker died on his way to the hospital, according to police.

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