Authorities have arrested ten Brazilian soldiers after their army patrol opened fire on a car carrying a family. The incident, which happened in Rio de Janeiro, left the driver, Evaldo dos Santos Rosa, dead. Two other people were injured, including a person that was walking close to the car.
Authorities have accused the group of opening fire on the car. They say more than 80 shots were fired at the car. Mr. Rosa was taking the people in the car to a baby shower in the northern side of the city.
Investigators believe that the soldiers thought the car was carrying gang members. The car they were looking for had the same color. Police searched the car involved in the incident and found no weapons.
The ten soldiers will be tried by a military court. It is currently unclear if all of them shot at the car. Police have revealed that more than 80 shots were made against the car. Local media said the soldiers are a group that patrols a nearby military facility.
The incident happened on Sunday, with the military first saying that its men had responded to an aggression by attackers. The statement alleged that they were fired at by two criminals but a second statement was later released. That statement said that the case would be investigated by military prosecutors over inconsistencies.
Mr. Rosa was one of several people in the car when the soldiers started firing. A woman who was in the car when the shots started said that the soldiers began firing without giving any warnings.
She spoke to Globo TV and said that they got out of the car, running with a child but they kept shooting. Mr. Rosa died shortly after and two more were injured when trying to help. Authorities have not given updates on the injuries on those that were in the car and the man who tried to help.
The incident has brought back the debate on if it is a good idea to deploy soldiers in areas with high crime rates. In recent years, hundreds of soldiers have been deployed to tackle crime. The government has also done that during sporting events such as the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Rio is one of a few cities where soldiers have been deployed to try to help reduce crime.
It is not the first time that soldiers or authorities are involved in an incident like this. Back in October 2017, a Spanish tourist was killed by police when she was visiting a favela. The shooting happened after the car went past a checkpoint.
The car had a group of people that were traveling with a tour guide. According to reports, the driver said that he didn’t see a checkpoint in the area or any signals for him to stop the car.
A police official said that the incident happened when the car was leaving the Rocinha favela. The car continued its way until stopping at a checkpoint, where they noticed that the tourist had been shot. Shortly after the incident, an official confirmed that two military police officers were being held over the death of the tourist. It was reported that one of the arrested was the person who fired at the car. The second person arrested fired into the air during the incident.
Police said at the time that they would investigate the tour company since the area had seen clashes between gangs and authorities in the last few months.