BRASILIA (AFP) - A young student at a private school in Brazil shot dead two other children and wounded four more on Friday (Oct 20), the emergency services said.
There were conflicting reports from the authorities about the ages of those involved.
All the victims were 12 or 13 years old, police and the fire department in the central city of Goiana said initially.
However, police investigators told AFP that the suspected shooter, who was arrested, was 14 and that students shot could be anywhere from 11 to 16.
Speaking on Globo television, a police officer said the assailant was the son of a policeman and that the pistol used was police-issue.
Local media reported that the boy had been bullied.
“At break time, he took the gun out of his bag and began shooting,” an unidentified witness was quoted as saying by G1 news site. “Then everyone began to run.”
The bloodshed in the state of Goias was a shock in Brazil, where student-on-student shootings of the kind common in the United States are unusual.
However, the country is one of the most violent in the world, recording nearly 60,000 homicides a year. Among the frequent victims are children hit by stray bullets in tightly packed favela slum neighbourhoods or while in school.
Cassio Almeida de Rosa, who works with the Brazilian Public Security Forum in studying violence, said “what’s noteworthy” was the access to a firearm at home in this case.
Earlier this month, a security guard reportedly suffering from mental illness deliberately set fire to a nursery school, killing himself, nine children and a teacher.
About 40 people were injured in the blaze at the nursery school in Janauba, a small town about 600km from the state capital of Minas Gerais.