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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Twenty-five armed men stormed a hospital in the center of Rio de Janeiro, in the early hours of Sunday morning to rescue a drug dealer who was under police custody, according to officials. Their actions left one person dead and two wounded.

Brazil, Rio de Janeiro,Souza Aguiar Hospital in the center of Rio de Janeiro was the stage of a daring prisoner rescue mission on Sunday morning.
Souza Aguiar Hospital in the center of Rio de Janeiro was the stage of a daring prisoner rescue mission on Sunday morning, photo by Tomaz Silva/Agência Brasil.

According to police the group arrived in four motorcycles and five cars shortly before 3AM on Sunday morning. The men had guns and explosives, according to officials, and threw a grenade against a police car. The intense gunfire between the armed criminals and the police left a hospital patient dead and a military police officer and a nurse wounded.

According to police the gunmen were looking for Nicolas Labre Pereira, known as ‘Fat Family’, who had been admitted to the hospital with a gunshot wound on Monday.

According to news outlet G1, Pereira, one of the drug trafficker leaders at Morro Santo Amaro in the Catete neighborhood, was able to escape with the group. The news channel also reported that police officials had confirmed that they were aware that there was a plan to rescue the prisoner and that extra security had been requested.

Rio de Janeiro mayor, Eduardo Paes, expressed his shock at the incident stating that the entire loss of control (by administrators) was ‘unacceptable’. “Healthcare workers can not be exposed to what occurred this morning,” said Paes to journalists adding that he was setting up a meeting with Rio’s acting governor, Francisco Dornelles, and the state’s security secretary, Jose Mariano Beltrame to discuss the attack.

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