RIO DE JANEIRO — As family members mourned their loved ones and kept vigil at hospitals for the injured, this city searched for understanding Thursday after a shooting at a public school left 12 students dead and 12 others wounded.
Brazil is no stranger to urban violence, especially the kind of violence in gang-controlled slums that have given this city one of the highest murder rates in the world. But the specter of the schoolhouse massacre was thought to be a mostly American affliction.
On Thursday, the Tasso da Silveira elementary and middle school, a three-story aqua-and-yellow schoolhouse in the working-class neighborhood of Realengo, on the west side of Rio, joined the ranks of Columbine High School in 1999 and Virginia Tech University in 2007, sites of other school shootings. For the victims’ families, the massacre brought those tragedies home.
Roselane de Oliveira, a sister of the attacker, told Rio de Janeiro radio station Band News that the young man 'was very strange.'
'He had no friends, and he spent all his time on the Internet,' she said.
In recent months, she said, he appeared to have got closer to Islam.