SAO PAULO, Brazil: At least 11 people were killed and several others wounded when an armed group stormed a bar in the Brazilian northern city of Belem on Sunday.
Wearing masks to cover their faces, the armed men arrived in three cars and one motorbike before killing six women and five men in the bar in a poor, violent neighbourhood in the capital of Para state.
There was no information regarding possible motivation for the crime and no arrests had been made by early Sunday evening. The identities of the victims were not given.
Some videos taken right after the shooting were posted on social media, showing slain people laying on the ground and a dead woman on top of the bar’s counter.
The killings took place in the Guamá neighbourhood, one of the seven most violent spots in the metropolitan Belem area where federal troops were sent in March to boost security.
There were 756 violent deaths in Para state in the first quarter.
Secretary of public security in Pará, Ualame Machado said almost all the victims had been shot in the head.
“Of course we have some lines of investigation, which are confidential, but all of them will be analysed very carefully, very strictly,” Machado told a news conference on Sunday. The motive behind the incident remained unclear and no one had been arrested.
In late March, the federal government sent National Guard troops to Belém to reinforce security in the city for 90 days. Brazil hit a record high of 64,000 homicides in 2017, 70% of which were due to firearms, according to official statistics.
Much of Brazil’s violence is gang-related. In January, gangs attacked across Fortaleza, bringing that city to a standstill as commerce, buses and taxis shut down. Rio de Janeiro experiences daily shootouts between rival gangs, and also with police, that often kill bystanders.