By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Two masked teenagers fired shots inside a school in Suzano, Sao Paulo, early Wednesday morning, killing five students and two school employees before turning the guns on themselves and committing suicide, according to police officials. The two also killed a man a few blocks from the school.
According to officials, police were heading to another call reporting shots fired when they heard cries for help from students at the school.
“We still cannot tell if the cases are related. Police officers were on their way to the first call, and they heard the children shouting,” said Captain Cibele Marsolla, of the military police’s communication department.
In addition to the ten dead (five students, two employees, a relative of one of the attacker, and two attackers) officials also said that there were seventeen people hurt, all whom were taken to area hospitals.
The school has over one thousand students in sixth through twelfth grade with ages ranging from twelve to seventeen.
According to Globonews TV, at 11AM there were still many children, teachers and employees inside the school and police were still trying to identify the victims. Officials have also not identified the two teenage shooters.
Police officials told reporters that they have not yet determined the motive for the attack.
School shootings in Brazil are rare.
On April 7, 2011, twelve teenagers aged were killed and twelve injured inside a school in Realengo, Rio de Janeiro after a former student opened fire, then shot himself in the head. He left a letter explaining that he had been bullied at school.
On October 5, 2017, a night watchman at a daycare center in Janauba, Minas Gerais invaded a classroom where dozens of children between the ages of 3 and 7 were taking part in school activities. The watchman locked the door and doused fuel on several children, employees and himself. Eight children and one teacher, along with the assailant died and forty other children were treated for burns.
*Updated Thursday, April 14th at 8:00AM to reflect the increase in the number of dead.