Two masked former students carrying a variety of deadly weapons burst into a school outside Sao Paulo Wednesday and left a bloodbath before killing themselves.
Police in Suzano say eight students and officials at the Raul Brasil school were killed. At least 17 were wounded. The two also killed the owner of a nearby used-car lot and stole a vehicle before attacking the school. One report said the owner was an uncle of one of the shooters.
Police say the two were armed with guns, knives, axes and a crossbow.
“In my 34 years as a policeman, it’s the first time I see someone use a crossbow like that,” police colonel Marcelo Salles said. “It’s horrendous … an unspeakably brutal crime.”
The two former pupils were 17 and 25 years old.
Police say they shot at students in a gym and fired at others who were enjoying a snack break.
A video shot by someone in the school shows youngsters fleeing down hallways to safety while they scream. Some can be heard begging for their lives amid gunshots.
Neighbors who heard commotion coming from the school looked outside their windows and doors to see terrified students jumping over a fence that surrounded the building and running down the street.
Police say the two assailants tried to get inside a room where students were hiding and shot and killed themselves as officers moved in.
Investigators are looking for a motive. The mother of the 17-year-old shooter said her son was bullied at the school. A teacher told police officers the same thing, and officers believe the pair may have been planning the attack for about a year.
“This was the saddest thing I have tended to in my whole life,” Sao Paulo state Governor Joao Doria said. “I am very sad that an event such as this one happened in our country and here in Sao Paulo.”
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted his sympathies for the victims and their families, calling the crime “a monstrosity and cowardness without equal.”
Bolsonaro campaigned last year on a law-and-order platform while promising to relax gun controls.
Brazil has one of the world’s highest murder rates, but school shootings are rare.
The last major incident was in 2011 when 12 students were gunned down in a school in Rio de Janeiro.