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Student dies from stray bullet on way to school in Brazil

August 10, 2019
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A woman cries as she attends a protest after student Gabriel Pereira Alves was killed by a stray bullet on his way to school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. A police statement said officers of a small unit stationed in the favela were attacked by criminals Friday morning but did not respond. Several residents, however, told The Associated Press there had been an exchange of fire between criminals and the police. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
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A woman cries as she attends a protest after student Gabriel Pereira Alves was killed by a stray bullet on his way to school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. A police statement said officers of a small unit stationed in the favela were attacked by criminals Friday morning but did not respond. Several residents, however, told The Associated Press there had been an exchange of fire between criminals and the police. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — An 18-year-old student was killed Friday in Rio de Janeiro, hit by a stray bullet on his way to school, the latest victim of the city’s violence.

The stray bullet reportedly came from a shooting in the nearby Morro do Borel slum, in the north of the city. The bullet hit Gabriel Ferreira Alves in the torso while he was waiting for the bus that would take him to school.

The military police said in a statement that members of a local police unit were shot at by criminals but the officers did not shoot back. Some residents, however, told The Associated Press there was an exchange of gunfire between criminals and the police.

Dozens of angry residents of Morro do Borel blocked the road where Alves died.

“This has to stop!” shouted Jaiane Cristina, a cousin of Alves’ mother who was standing a few meters (yards) from where he was shot. Some held signs saying “Another innocent death.”

Alves is one of 110 people hit by stray bullets in the Rio metropolitan area so far this year, according to data from Fogo Cruzado, a group that monitors shootings in the area. Thirty-one of those people have died, it said.

In the first six months of the year, Fogo Cruzado recorded 4,169 shootings, or about 23 a day.

“I imagine going to work and receiving a phone call telling me my son was found dead on the street. I don’t want this for my son, I don’t want this for anyone,” Cristina yelled.

Tensions eventually rose between the protesters and police officers, who used tear gas to disperse the small crowd.

President Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain, was elected last year on a promise to tackle epidemic violence in Brazil and to crack down on criminals.

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