According to local authorities, at least three people were killed and 11 others were injured when a gunman opened fire on two schools in the state of Espiritu Santo, Brazil.
The attacks took place in a small town of Aracruz, located 50 miles north of the state capital Vitoria.
The alleged shooter, who was seen on security footage carrying a semi-automatic weapon, wearing a military uniform and wearing a face mask, has been arrested by police. Authorities have not yet released the identity of the suspect, but local media, including CNN, reported that the individual is 16 years old.
The governor of Espirito Santo, Renato Casagrande, confirmed in a Twitter message on Friday that “security teams have arrested the attacker who cowardly attacked two schools in Aracruz. I have declared three days of official mourning as a sign of grief for the irreparable loss. We continue to investigate the causes.” and soon we will receive new clarifications.”
The governor said the attacks took place at the Primo Bitti school and the Praia de Coqueiral Education Center.
Public Security Minister Marcio Celante told media that police believe the suspect acted alone, based on security video, but acknowledged that further investigation is needed to determine more details about what happened.
Celante also revealed some of what the security video showed.
“The first criminal act was entering the school by breaking the lock. He had access to the staff room,” Celante said, adding that “he then moved to another school where he made more sacrifices.”
Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, the president-elect of Brazil, called the incident an “absurd tragedy.”
“I am sorry to hear about the attacks on the Aracruz schools in Espirito Santo. My solidarity goes out to the families of the victims of this senseless tragedy,” Lula said on Twitter.
“My support goes to Governor Casagrande in his investigation and comfort to the communities surrounding the two affected schools,” he said.
Brazilian Minister Victor Godoy also joined his government colleagues in expressing his condolences.
“My condolences to the parents, relatives and staff of the Primary and Secondary Public School of Primo Bitti and the Praia de Coqueiral Educational Center, in Aracruz. I submit the rejection of this manifestation of violence for the record,” Godoy said on Twitter.