Eureka News Now —
At least three people were killed and 11 others injured after a gunman opened fire on two schools in Brazil’s Espirito Santo state on Friday, according to local authorities.
The attacks occurred in the small town of Aracruz, 50 miles north of the state capital, Vitoria.
The suspected gunman – who was seen in security footage with a semi-automatic weapon, wearing military fatigues and a face covering – was arrested by police. The suspect has not yet been identified by authorities, but local media, including Eureka News Now affiliate Eureka News Now Brasil, have reported that the individual is a 16-year-old.
Espirito Santo Governor Renato Casagrande confirmed in a Twitter post on Friday: “Security teams have caught up with the attacker who cowardly attacked two schools in Aracruz. As a sign of mourning for the irreparable losses, I have declared three days of national mourning. We will continue to investigate the reasons and will have new clarifications soon.”
The governor said the attacks took place at the Primo Bitti school and the Praia de Coqueiral educational center.
Speaking to the media, Public Safety Minister Marcio Celante said police believe the suspect acted alone based on the security video, but acknowledged that further investigations are needed to find out more details about the incidents.
Celante also revealed some of what the security video showed.
“The first criminal act was to gain entry to the school by picking the padlock. He had access to the staff room,” Celante said, adding that “after that he moved to another school where he made more sacrifices.”
Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva called the incident an “absurd tragedy”.
“It is with dismay that I learned of the attacks on the Aracruz schools in Espirito Santo. My solidarity goes out to the families of the victims of this absurd tragedy,” Lula tweeted.
“My support goes out to Governor Casagrande in investigating the case and bringing comfort to the communities surrounding the two affected schools,” he added.
Brazilian Minister Victor Godoy, along with his government colleagues, also expressed his condolences.
“My condolences to the parents, relatives and staff at the Primo Bitti State Primary and Secondary School and the Praia de Coqueiral Education Center in Aracruz. I submit on record my repudiation of this manifestation of violence,” Godoy wrote on Twitter.