By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The ammunition used to kill Rio de Janeiro councilwoman, Marielle Franco and her driver on Wednesday night came from a lot sold to the Federal Police in 2006 and stolen from a post office storage facility in the state of Paraiba, confirmed Public Secretary Minister Raul Jungmann on Friday night.
“The Federal Police has already opened more than fifty inquiries due to this unaccounted ammunition. I believe that these shells found at the scene of the crime were effectively stolen,” said Jungmann.
The official also links this lot of ammunition to the one used in São Paulo’s Metropolitan Area in August of 2015 where in a single night seventeen people were killed in several spots around the region. Three military police officers and a local police officer were convicted of the crimes.
According to a report aired on GloboTV’s main news program, the batch of ammunition in question contained 1,859,000 bullets, which were distributed to many federal police units around the country.
The report said that bullets from this lot were also used in crimes involving rival drug trafficking gangs in Rio’s Metropolitan area of São Gonçalo between 2015 and 2017.
Meanwhile, police believe that the killers involved in the assassination of the councilwoman and her driver followed Franco for several days before the crime. An aide to the lawmaker said she was approached by a stranger earlier this week asking about Franco’s schedule.
Videos from street cameras around the building where Franco held a meeting on Wednesday night shows a car following the councilwoman’s automobile as it left the area. Police believe that is how they knew where Franco was sitting, since the automobile had tinted windows. Of the nine shots fired, five hit the lawmaker.
Ms. Franco was shot to death after leaving a town meeting in the Centro district of Rio de Janeiro. She was a human rights activist and favela-community resident who recently was chosen by the city’s legislature to monitor the military intervention issued by President Michel Temer for the state of Rio de Janeiro.
The lawmaker was elected to Rio’s legislature in 2015 with the fifth highest votes and was very active in women’s rights, especially Rio’s black women who lived in favela communities and face domestic violence and human rights violations.
This is perhaps the most shocking execution of a public official in Rio de Janeiro since the 2011 murder of Judge Patrícia Acioli, who was assassinated outside her home in Niterói, the sister city within the metropolitan region.
Acioli was shot 21 times in her car by gunmen wearing masks. Reports show the bullets that killed the judge came from .40 and .45 caliber pistols, weapons restricted to the Armed Forces and Civil and Military Police.