By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Police in Rio have been investigating the death of a German tourist since yesterday, Monday, May 22nd. According to the Barra da Tijuca battalion command, Christoph Josef was murdered by Luiz Fernando Pereira Garcia, in the neighborhood Santa Cruz in the Zona Oeste (West Zone) of Rio.
Two suspects were arrested while driving through a checkpoint on Avenida Salvador Allende, in front of the Ilha Pura condominium, former Vila dos Atletes (Athletes Village) of the Rio 2016 Games, heading towards Jacarepaguá.
According to local news outlets, the main suspect is Luiz Fernando Pereira Garcia Júnior, who presented identification of being a member of the National Commission for the Defense of Human Rights and Citizenship. The second suspect is Luan Rodrigues Mesquita, who was driving the vehicle.
The polícia militar (PM or military police ) officer at the scene explained, “We ordered the vehicle to be pulled over, the citizen identified as Luiz, who identified himself as a member of human rights, in a very arrogant manner with the policemen, and then we noticed that the driver was very nervous and we decided to do the personal search in the car.”
According to the PM, the car had traces of blood on a cloth and one of the seats of the vehicle. The suspects even claimed that they rescued a woman in labor. However, police found a bullet lodged in the backseat. The men were taken to the police station and one of them confessed to the crime.
The large neighborhood of Santa Cruz is in the farthest west area of the city of Rio de Janeiro, with a population of 217,333 (according to the 2010 census).
More details and the motive for the crime are not yet clear, but the center of Santa Cruz is about 70km (over an hour drive) from Rio’s popular tourist areas of Ipanema and Copacabana.