2 young girls killed by stray bullets in Rio neighborhood
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Grieving families held funerals Saturday for two young children killed by bullets while playing outside their homes in Rio de Janeiro’s Baixada Fluminense region.
The 4- and 7-year old girls, cousins, were hit in the head in the abdomen, respectively, Friday night.
Weeping and cries of “justice” were heard Saturday at their funerals at Rio’s Nossa Senhora das Graças Cemetery, reflecting the families’ assertion that the children were killed by police bullets.
In an email sent to the Associated Press, Military Police denied there were shots fired by military police. The statement said: “a police team from the 15th Police Battalion was on patrol when gunshots were heard and the team continued on the move.” It said investigation will be carried out.
The grandmother of 7-year-old Rebeca Beatriz Rodrigues dos Santos, Lídia da Silva Moreira Santos, who is also the aunt of 4-year-old Emily Victória Silva dos Santos, said that when she arrived home from work around 8 p.m. on Friday she saw police shooting toward the community where the families lived.
Relative Ana Lúcia Alves de Souza, 51, denied there had been an exchange of gunfire with police.
“What is their preparation that the police cannot distinguish between an adult and a child? There was no exchange of gunfire. Emily was shot in the head,” she said.
The NGO Fogo Cruzado, or Crossfire, said that with the shooting deaths of Emily and Rebeca 22 children under 12 have been hit by stray bullets in 2020, eight of whom have died.
Emily’s father said emotionally: “I’m burying my daughter, who hasn’t lived at all.
AP video producer Diarlei Rodrigues and video journalist Lucas Dumphreys contributed to this report.