Rio de Janeiro, May 25 (EFE).- Two of the eight suspects hospitalized with gunshot wounds following a police operation in a Rio de Janeiro favela (shantytown) died overnight, bringing the death toll to 25, Brazilian authorities said Wednesday.
Officials also identified a young man listed as dead on arrival Tuesday at a different medical facility as a fatality of the violence associated with the raid in Penha, a sprawling complex of favelas on Rio’s north side.
Six other wounded suspects remain under police guard at Getulio Vargas and Salgado Filho hospitals, the Rio state health department said.
At least one of the dead, 41-year-old Gabriele Ferreira de Cunha, was a civilian struck by a stray bullet that found its way into her home.
Police said that 22 of those killed were members of Comando Vermelho, the city’s most powerful criminal organization, reputed to control the illegal drug trade in most of Rio’s favelas.
Tuesday’s raid occurred a few weeks after the one-year anniversary of a similar police operation in the Jacarezinho favela that left 28 dead, including 27 suspects.
The Rio de Janeiro state ombud’s office expressed concern about the police sweep in Penha.
“The legality of the operation and the proportionality of the use of force are being investigated. The elevated lethality of the operation raises the suspicion that a massacre might have been committed,” the official said in a statement.
Federal prosecutors likewise announced an investigation to determine the exact circumstances of each one of the deaths in Penha.
But Brazil’s right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, congratulated the police for having “neutralized at least 20 losers connected to drug trafficking.”
Without providing any details, he went on to say that the suspects killed Tuesday were responsible for the deaths of at least 13 police officers in 2022.
Bolsonaro, who is seeking re-election in October, denounced the media for “demonizing those who risk their lives for us.” EFE