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Posted on April 7, 2011
A gunman has killed up to 20 children at Tasso da Silveira primary school in Rio de Janeiro, reports say. Photograph: five
As many as 20 people are feared dead after a gunman invaded a primary school in Rio de Janeiro and opened fire.
One witness told the Guardian he had seen between 15 and 20 children dead or seriously wounded inside the Tasso da Silveira primary school in western Rio.
“It is a massacre, a true massacre,” said Roni de Macedo, a fireman who arrived on the scene shortly after the shooting began and dragged eight seriously injured children from the second floor classroom. “There is blood on the walls, blood on the chairs. There are 15 to 20 dead I think,” said De Macedo, who was covered in blood.
“I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s like something in the United States.”
Witnesses said the shooting began outside the school at around 8.30am when a man opened fire on two boys, shooting one in the head and one in the arm with what was said to be handgun.
He is said to have cotinued through the school’s metal gates and up to a packed classroom the second floor, opening fire on children aged between 11 and 13.
“I saw a load of injured kids, bleeding kids. I saw a dead guy inside. I heard more than 30 shots. My daughter was inside,” said Hercilei Antunes, 44, a postman who lives opposite the school.
“It’s always been a calm school,” he added, standing on his bloodstained porch where he gave first aid to children who had been shot. “Today I heard shots, shots, shots and more shots. I tried to go in but he shot more and I am not made of steel.”
With police helicopters hovering overhead, Yvonette Fernandes, 51, wept as she looked for news of her 12-year-old niece alongside scores of desperate parents. “Where is she? I want to know where she is!”