THE FAMILY of two very young cousins killed by stray bullets in Rio de Janeiro has accused Brazil’s police of shooting the children.
Emily dos Santos, 4, and her cousin Rebeca, 7, were playing on the street near their homes in the Duque de Caxias area when they were struck by stray bullets from nearby gunfire. Emily was hit in the head and Rebeca in her abdomen. Both children died from their injuries, bringing the number of kids killed by crossfire in Brazil this year up to 8 alongside 12 non-fatal incidents according to NGO Fogo Cruzada.
A relative of the girls said she saw police shooting their guns in the direction of the scene at the time of their deaths, with another member of the traumatised family saying there was no exchange of fire from potential criminals. She asked ‘what is the preparation of police if they cannot distinguish between an adult and a child?’
At the tragic funeral of the two young girls, the father of Emily said ‘I am burying my daughter, who hasn’t lived at all.’ Friends, family, and neighbours led chants of ‘Justice’ at the ceremony, and police have announced they are investigating the incident without admitting to responsibility. They stated that a ‘police team was on patrol when gunshots were heard and the team continued on their move’. Brazil has one of the highest rates of police and gang violence in the world.
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