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.
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.
— BNO News (@BNONews) August 20, 2019
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.
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.
DEVELOPING: Authorities in #Brazil say an armed man has taken dozens of people hostage on a bus; Several have been released and tell police the man spread gasoline and is threatening to light the bus on fire #LiveDesk pic.twitter.com/clEr3PgDsa
— Dan Snyder (@DanSnyderFOX25) August 20, 2019
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.
Sao Gonçalo is a violent, impoverished suburb separated from Rio by Guanabara Bay.
Reuters contributed to this article.