National Force agent Hélio Vieira Andrade died at Salgado Filho Hospital in Rio, where he had been hospitalized since last August 10, after being shot by armed men in the Maré slum complex.
Coming from the state of Roraima, he was shot in the head when he and two uniformed fellows lost their way and entered the community by mistake. The agent’s death was confirmed by the Ministry of Justice.
In his social media, Brazil’s Justice Minister, Alexandre de Moraes, expressed his grief for the agent’s death. “I want to express my grief for the family of agent Hélio Vieira, who was cowardly attacked, and, unfortunately, died today as a result of injuries,” he said.
“Agent Vieira is a real hero to our country,” he added.
Interim President Michel Temer has declared 1-day period of official mourning for the decease of the military agent.
Andrade was one of two National Force agents who were injured by shots in the Complexo da Maré favela, in Rio de Janeiro. According to the Justice Ministry, the agents entered the area by mistake and were met with shots.
The Civil Police reported that an inquiry is being conducted at the scene.
Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes said the government “will respond to the society quickly” over the case. Moraes said the security agents were victims of a “deplorable and cowardly” incident when the National Security Force vehicle they were in lost its way and entered the slum by mistake.
While Andrade was wounded in the head another military had a graze wound. A third officer had no injuries. Minister Moraes said that the state security forces went to the crime scene and two suspects had been identified. “We’ll take action to arrest these people as soon as possible,” he promised.
According to a spokesperson, the Justice Minister headed to the hospital to check on the health state of the wounded military officer as soon as he knew of the attack.
A single bullet hole was identified in the windshield of the victims’ National Security Force pickup truck, but the crime scene investigator believes other shots may have been fired because the side windows were shattered.
Rio Investigative Police Chief Rivaldo Barbosa monitored the vehicle inspection and said new ones might be carried out on the site. “Let’s wait and see what the investigators will say. We’ll come back here as many times as required to understand how the incident unfolded and then identify these people who have no consideration for life,” the police chief said.