Brazil Bus Hijacker Shot Dead by Police Sniper After Four-Hour Hijacking

August 20, 2019 Updated: August 20, 2019

Brazilian television is showing an armed hostage-taker with dozens of passengers on board and being encircled by police after a standoff in Rio de Janeiro.

More than three dozen people were taken hostage over the four-hour hijacking. None of the hostages were injured.

A Brazilian police sniper shot dead the man who hijacked the bus, a spokesman for the Military Police said on Tuesday, Aug. 20.

Watch:

In a video by BNO News, the armed hostage-taker can be seen falling to the ground after a military police sniper shoots the man.

Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witzel congratulated the police for an “exemplary performance” in a Twitter post but said he regretted the death of the hijacker.

The Federal Highway Police said the armed man ambushed the bus, holding 37 people hostage since about 5:30 a.m. on a busy bridge linking the suburb of Sao Gonçalo to downtown Rio de Janeiro.

At least six hostages had been released before Brazilian police neutralized the hostage-taker.

Police said they told authorities the man had spilled gasoline in the bus and threatened to set it on fire.

Brazil bus hijacking 5
Armed military police block the Rio-Niteroi Bridge, where armed police surrounded a hijacked passenger bus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Aug. 20, 2019. (Still Image from RECORD TV video)
Bus hijacking Brazil 1
A federal police officer blocks the Rio-Niteroi Bridge, where armed police surrounded a hijacked passenger bus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Aug. 20, 2019. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)

Officials said the man has identified himself as a policeman but this has not been confirmed. He reportedly had a gun and a knife.

The man did not make any particular demands and appeared to have “psychological problems,” a spokesperson for the traffic police said on TV Globo.

Rio’s elite police force known as BOPE were in charge of the operation.

The bridge that connects state capital Rio with the city of Niteroi across the bay is a major commuter thoroughfare, and the hijacking during the morning rush hour triggered travel chaos in the region.

Traffic was blocked in both directions on the bridge, with hundreds of vehicles waiting in line.

Bus hijacking Brazil 2
A federal police officer blocks the Rio-Niteroi Bridge, where armed police surrounded a hijacked passenger bus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Aug. 20, 2019. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)

Sao Gonçalo is a violent, impoverished suburb separated from Rio by Guanabara Bay.

Reuters contributed to this article.

RECOMMENDED