By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A German tourist was shot and seriously wounded on Friday, May 30th in Rocinha, Rio’s largest favela and increasingly popular destination for visitors to the city. As of Sunday morning, a 16-year-old had confessed to shooting the tourist, but investigations are ongoing as local authorities believe he may have been coerced to confess to a crime he did not commit.
The victim identified as Frank Daniel Baijaim, 25, was traveling through South America with a friend and had plans to leave Brazil on Sunday when, according to the friend and fellow tourist, on Friday after a morning trip to the iconic Rio landmark Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), the two decided to visit Rocinha.
There they were reportedly surprised by an armed bandit at around 12:30 PM. Baijaim, who O Globo reports may have been taking pictures of the assailant, was shot after attempting to run away with the bullet striking his arm, hitting his chest and then piercing his liver.
Reports state a local resident carried Baijaim to Rocinha’s UPP and was taken to Miguel Couto Hospital where he underwent surgery. At the time of this report Baijaim remains in severe condition according to the municipal Department of Health.
Rocinha, Brazil’s largest favela and home to an estimated 70,000-100,000 residents, was occupied by police and military security forces in November 2011 and received a Police Pacifying Unit (UPP) almost a year later on Thursday, September 20, 2012.
Since the occupation, local patrols in Rocinha have been involved in 48 confrontations with armed assailants, 35 of which took place after the UPP was inaugurated, according to O Globo.
Roupa Suja, where the tourist was shot, located in the heart of Rocinha has been one of the most problematic areas for law enforcement in the area.
The Military Police are currently investigating the Baijaim case the and Civil Police are searching for the gunman.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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