By Patricia Maresch, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The young man, 23-year-old Wellington Menezes de Oliveira, who shot and killed twelve children at his former school in Realengo (Zona Oeste, West Zone), before taking is own life, was apparently motivated by bullying according to messages left behind. A series of letters, videos and photos were released by the police after they found his partially burned computer.
The night before the shooting Menezes de Oliveira checked into a hotel in Realengo where he videotaped messages explaining why he was about to return to his former school: “I hope this serves as a lesson, especially to those school officials who stood by with their arms crossed as students were being attacked, humiliated, ridiculed.”
Menezes de Oliveira adding: “I want to leave it very clear that I am not responsible for the deaths that will occur, even though my fingers will be on the trigger,” blaming the murders he went on to commit on his past bullies.
Right after the tragedy, a letter from Menezes de Oliveira was found that he left in a backpack at the school. The letter contained strict rules for his funeral and instructions about who should or should not touch his body. The content was reminiscent to that written by Mohamed Atta, one of the perpetrators of the 9-11 attacks.
Menezes de Oliveira declared himself a Muslim, after having left the Jehovah Witnesses four years ago. At the end of his letter he says he hopes God can forgive him and that Jesus will eventually revive him from death.
Investigators are reconstructing the life and final days of the shooter who was known as a solitary person with no criminal record. His former classmates and teachers confirm that he was bullied at school. Girls in class rejected him and he endured constant humiliation, they told Brazilian media.
Adopted as a baby, the killer Menezes de Oliveira had five brothers and sisters. When his mother died, he left home and became even more withdrawn, according to one sister.
“We thought he was acting strange. He had a long beard and said weird things. He spent most of his time online,” she told Band News, adding that she last saw her brother seven months before the shooting.
Brazil is no stranger to gun violence, but the Realengo shooting has shocked the nation. It sparked a debate on gun control” target=”_blank”> and some lawmakers announced they will propose a new referendum on banning the sale of firearms.
According to studies, almost half of the weapons in circulation in Brazil is illegal. Out of ten guns seized, eight are manufactured in Brazil itself, debunking the idea that most illegal guns are imported.