12 dead in Brazil as rob­bers hit 2 banks

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page -

RIO DE JANEIRO — At least 12 peo­ple, in­clud­ing two chil­dren, were killed Fri­day when po­lice en­gaged in a shootout with bank rob­bers, ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties in north­east­ern Brazil.

Two at­tempted heists oc­curred in the state of Ceara begin­ning around 2:30 a.m. in the down­town area of the city of Mi­la­gres, po­lice said in a state­ment.

News por­tal G1 re­ported that the rob­bers blocked off a road into the down­town and took hostages as they be­gan en­ter­ing two banks on the same street. When po­lice re­sponded, a fire­fight en­sued, lead­ing to the deaths.

Liel­son Macedo Landim, the mayor of Mi­la­gres, told G1 the hostages were ex­e­cuted by the crim­i­nal group and not killed by po­lice fire. Macedo Landim said that two chil­dren, be­tween 10 and 13 years old, were among the dead hostages.

His ac­count could not be im­me­di­ately ver­i­fied, as po­lice did not re­spond to nu­mer­ous re­quests for more in­for­ma­tion. Au­thor­i­ties also seized three ve­hi­cles, sev­eral firearms and ex­plo­sives.

Two sus­pects were ap­pre­hended, and sev­eral fled, ac­cord­ing to the po­lice state­ment. An­dre Costa, sec­re­tary of pub­lic se­cu­rity in Ceara, said that six of the dead were the at­tack­ers. Au­thor­i­ties have yet to re­lease iden­ti­ties.

To search for the re­main­ing would-be rob­bers, the city an­nounced on its Face­book page that it was sus­pend­ing pub­lic ser­vices and urged res­i­dents to re­main in their homes.

Latin Amer­ica’s largest na­tion rou­tinely is the world leader in to­tal an­nual homi­cides. Ceara is one of the coun­try’s most-violent states.

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