By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A Spanish tourist was shot and killed in Rio de Janeiro on Monday morning, after the car she was in did not stop at a police blockade near one of Brazil’s largest favela communities, Rocinha.
The region has been plagued by violence for more than a month as police try to detain drug kingpins thought to be hiding in the community.
In a statement released by police after the incident, officials said that the tourist “was in a car that did not halt at a police roadblock in Largo do Boiadeiro, around 10:30 AM, and was therefore targeted by the officers.”
According to the motorist driving 67-year-old Maria Esperanza Jimenez Ruiz, neither he nor any of his passengers saw the police blockade and the order to stop.
Ruiz was hit in the neck with a bullet from a high power machine gun used by police officers in the area. She was taken to a nearby hospital but arrived dead.
In addition to Ruiz, two other Spanish and an Italian tourist were also in the car.
According to a note released by Rio police, statements were taken from the three officers at the scene and their weapons will be analyzed to see where the fatal shot came from.