Sept. 7 (UPI) — Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro was stabbed while campaigning on the street on Thursday, his son said.
Jair Bolsonaro’s son, Flavio Bolsonaro, initially wrote on Twitter that the injuries his father sustained in the stabbing were “only superficial,” but provided an update about 2 hours later saying he was hospitalized after losing a lot of blood and was “almost dead.”
“Unfortunately, it was more serious than we expected. The perforation reached part of the liver, the lung, and the bowel strap,” Flavio Bolsonaro said. “His condition now seems stabilized. Pray, please!”
Jair Bolsonaro was taken to Santa Casa de Misericórdia hospital in the town of Juiz de Fora and a spokeswoman confirmed he was in surgery, The Guardian reported.
Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing politician who has topped Brazil’s presidential polls, was standing among a crowd during a campaign event in the state of Minas Gerais at the time of the stabbing.
Video of the incident showed Jair Bolsonaro standing elevated while making a thumbs up gesture before doubling over in pain after being stabbed, the BBC reported.
Police spokesman Maj. Flavio Santiago said the suspect was in custody after being beaten by Jair Bolsonaro’s supporters.
“The Minas Gerais police reacted rapidly. Uniformed officers who were there arrested the attacker,” Santiago said.
Fernando Haddad, who is expected to oppose Jair Bolsonaro as the Workers Party’s presidential candidate, said the stabbing was a “shame” and a “horror.”
Jair Bolsonaro will represent the Social Liberal Party in the upcoming election and has supported loosening gun control laws and anti-abortion policies.
During the campaign he has faced criticism for sexist, racist and homophobic remarks and recently said members of the Workers’ Party should be shot.
He also faces a supreme court trial for a speech that prosecutors said incited hate and rape.