SAN PAULO, Brazil, Aug. 15 (Amy R. Connolly) — As investigators take a closer look to determine if San Paulo police officers were involved in a series of execution-style shootings that left at least 18 people dead, 12 victims were buried Saturday.
Investigators said the shootings were carried out by gunmen wearing face coverings and it was possibly in reprisal for the recent shooting death of two police officers. Many worry nothing will be done to capture the suspects and fear talking about it because of possible retaliation, but government officials said they are working to make arrests.
“When we get to the suspects, whether they are police or not, we’ll act quickly to detain them,” said Alexandre de Moraes, the top security official in São Paulo State.
The series of shootings were carried out with in a six-mile radius. In one incident, the shooters lined eight bar patrons against a wall and shot them dead. Within minutes, a similar shooting left two more dead. In total, deadly shootings happened in eight locations in two hours.
“It was very fast and very tragic,” said Alberto Martinez, whose brother was one of the victims buried on Saturday. “He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Brazil has come under increasing fire from human rights groups over the rising number of police-related killings.