At least three people were killed and 11 injured after a gunman opened fire at two schools in the Brazilian state of Espiritu Santo, local authorities said.
The attacks took place in Aracruz, a small town about 50 miles north of the state capital Vitoria.
A man suspected of shooting at security personnel wearing a military uniform and wearing a mask, carrying a semi-automatic weapon, was arrested by the police. Authorities have not yet released the suspect’s name, but local media, including CNN affiliate CNN Brasil, have reported that the man is 16 years old.
The governor of Espirito Santo state, Renato Casagrande, confirmed in a tweet on Friday that “security forces arrested the attacker who cowardly attacked two schools in Aracruz.” I have declared three days of official mourning as a mark of mourning for the irreparable loss. We will continue to investigate the cause and will have new details soon.”
According to the governor, the attacks took place at the Primo Bitti School and the Praia de Coqueirale Education Center.
Speaking to the media, Public Security Minister Marcio Celante said police believe the suspect acted alone based on security video, but acknowledged further investigation is needed to determine the details of the incident.
Celante also revealed some of what the security video showed.
“The first criminal case was breaking the lock of the school. “He was able to get into the teachers’ room,” Celante said, adding that “he later moved to another school where he suffered more.”
Brazil’s president-elect, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, called the incident an “absurd tragedy.”
“I am saddened to learn of the attacks at Aracruz schools in Espirito Santo. I express my condolences to the families of the victims in this absurd tragedy,” Lula wrote on Twitter.
“My support goes out to Governor Casagrande in his investigation and in comforting the communities around the two affected schools,” he added.
Brazilian Minister Victor Godoy also expressed his solidarity with his government colleagues.
“My condolences to the parents, relatives and staff of Primo Bitti Public Primary and Secondary School and Praia de Coqueiral Education Center in Aracruz. I declare that I reject this manifestation of violence,” Godoy wrote on Twitter.