By Jayme Monsanto, Senior Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – A well-known Brazilian martial arts teacher was killed and his American friend shot down on Christmas eve just west of Rio de Janeiro. 39-year old Marcos Adriano Albuquerque, aka ‘Marcos Jará’, and 36-year old Brent Garret were attacked by two men as they drove along the Estrada de Pedra in the Guaratiba neighborhood of Zona Oeste.
According to police the pair were heading to Paraty, a historical city located further along the Costa Verde in Rio state, where they had planned to spend Christmas. Not long into their journey Marcos and Brent stopped on the road to retrieve something from inside the trunk, whereupon they were approached by two men who pulled a gun and attempted to steal the Land Rover Jeep they were in.
Marcos and Brent reacted, and the American was shot in the abdomen during the scuffle. The Brazilian was forced to keep driving, leaving the American alone in the middle of the road just outside of the Favela do Cesarão. Later that same day, Marcos’ body was found inside the same vehicle, which was abandoned at the entrance of the Favela do Sapo, at Senador Camará, also in the western part of Rio de Janeiro city.
Inhabitants of the Favela do Cesarão came to the American’s aide and called an ambulance which took him to the Pedro II Hospital in Santa Cruz, where bullet shards were removed from his abdomen.
He has since been transferred to the Copa D’Or private hospital in Copacabana and remains in the ICU, and his condition is not said to be critical. Brent has been accompanied by a U.S. Consulate representative around the clock since his admission to hospital.
The two friends’ Land Rover belonged to Luciano Szafir, a famous actor and successful businessman, who himself was Jará’s partner in a martial arts school in Rio.
Marcos lived in the U.S. for 20 years and was a highly successful martial arts instructor, having coached famous fighters like Mike Tyson and Bob Sapp, and owned an academy in Los Angeles where he taught martial arts to police officers. Jará visited Rio frequently, as he had family and friends in the city.
The police said the incident was likely related to drug gangs, since Favela do Sapo and Favela do Cesarão are both controlled by the same crime faction.
Marcos’ burial took place on Boxing Day at the São João Batista cemetery in Botafogo. Two hundred people accompanied the ceremony.