Brazilian TV Cameraman Gunned Down. Drug Trafficker Is Main Suspect

Brazilian cameraman Walter Lessa de Oliveira is buried Brazilian TV cameraman Walter Lessa de Oliveira was murdered on Saturday, January 5, Maceió, the capital of the northeastern state of Alagoas, amid a disturbing crime wave in the city. Witnesses say he was gunned down by a drug trafficker and revenge appears to be the most likely motive.

Aged 53 and employed by TV Assembléia, a public TV service operated by the Alagoas state assembly, Lessa was shot four times in the head while at a bus stop on the outskirts of Maceió.

Citing several witnesses, the police have identified a drug trafficker known by the nickname of "Aranha" (Spider) as the killer. Aranha allegedly pulled up in a car alongside Lessa and fired four shots at him. Hit in the head, Lessa died immediately.

The most plausible theory is that the shooting was in revenge for the fact Lessa had in the past filmed footage of Aranha that was shown on state television. An alternative theory that has been suggested is that Lessa was shot while resisting an attempted robbery, but this is not supported by the witness statements taken by the police, and nothing was stolen from him.

Born near Rio de Janeiro, Lessa used to head the Alagoas Union of Professional Journalists and worked for TV Gazeta for more than 20 years. Of late, he had worked for the Maceió Center for Higher Education as well as TV Assembléia.

His death came amid a surge in armed crime in Maceió in which a total of 16 people were murdered in the city from 5 to 7 January. The state police have been on strike for five months for more pay and the authorities seem powerless to deal with the crime wave.

Press freedom organization Reporters Without Border released a note saying it was appalled by the crime. "Brazil's northeast continues to be a high-risk region for journalists," the group wrote and added: 

"Without trying to anticipate the results of the investigation, we think it quite plausible that this was an act of revenge by a drug trafficker, especially as organized crime is so active there. We hope the leading suspect will be quickly found and questioned. We also hope that the alarming security situation in Alagoas will be quickly resolved."

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  • Show Comments (14)

  • Bob

    “Iraq is safer for Brazilians!!!”

    How do you make that out? There’s hardly any Brazilians in Iraq and one was killed by a bomb a couple of years ago.

    I’d rank Brazil ahead of South Africa though with Rio or Caracas the most dangerous city outside of war.

  • João da Silva

    [quote]Iraq is safer for Brazilians!!![/quote]

    Except for Sergio Vieira de Mello and JoÀƒ£o JosÀƒ© Vasconselo.May their souls RIP.

  • Shellly

    Life
    Life in Brazil costs very little, anything is a reason to kill. I have told you what happened to my brother-in-law in Brasilia. A senseless act, he was lucky and my nice still has her daddy. Death means nothing. Thousands are dying every year and we continue with this bullshit rhetoric that we are peaceful, really? Iraq is safer for Brazilians!!!

  • Paulo Scheurer

    Um, Vedrine, you mean “Alagoanos” and “Alagoanas,” right? 😀 But a very good point overall. No apostrophes for English or Portuguese plurals.

  • Vedrine

    No apostrophe needed to pluralize words in English. NONE!
    Alagaanos. Alagaoanas. You do not need an apostrophe to make a plural in English, just as you don’t need an apostrophe to make plurals in Portuguese! 🙁

    “Alagoana’s” means something belongs to the Alagoana, as in, “the Alagoana’s rifle.” It is not a plural.

    The words are the same in both languages, no difference. Basic grammar, so please, learn it. ObrigadÀƒ£o.

  • João da Silva

    Ch.c
    [quote]And to Alagoas (Ponta Verde in Maceio to be precise – smile), I went there only 4 times. Girls and beaches are more gorgeous than in the South[/quote]

    And you survived, in spite of your ogling at the gorgeous women escorted by their boy friends? Probably you were wearing special sun glasses, Made ONLY in Switzerland?

    😉

  • ch.c.

    To Joao !
    – “” It’s very sad to watch these people kill each other like that”
    Does that not happen in the South that reporters, journalists or cameramen are….KILLED ?
    Just refer to some news articles….. in this site.
    😀

    – “I did not find anything strange about the comments”
    Sure crimes are not strange at all, all over Brazil !
    Life is very cheap. Your deaths squads even eliminate innocents children to clean the country.
    And your police forces do exactly the same…..on a daily basis.

    Joao, may I refresh YOUR memory :
    – Brazil has the World second highest crime rate….after South Africa !

    Be proud. Dont you see yet something strange ?

    The USA is considered a violent country. But they are nearly angels when compared to Brazil.
    Yessss…the Brazilian crimes rate is 6,5 times higher than the USA.

    Ohhhhhh what a peaceful population Brazilians are !!!!!!! 😀 😉 😀 😉

    And to Alagoas (Ponta Verde in Maceio to be precise – smile), I went there only 4 times. Girls and beaches are more gorgeous than in the South.
    😉

  • João da Silva

    Ch.c
    [quote]strange comments knowing……[/quote]

    I did not find anything strange about the comments. Bo and I were merely expressing our great appreciation for the “Natural Beauties” of Alagoas . May be you should go on a fact finding mission to Alagoas and write an article for “National Geographic ” 😉

  • ch.c.

    strange comments knowing……
    that even if there are more crimes per 100’000 capita in the Northeast, the majority of crimes are still in the SOUTH….wether you like or not…..if you can read YOUR OWN stats !!!!!

    Therefore I cant stop laughing….when a (smart ?) commentator says ” It’s very sad to watch these people kill each other like that”
    because what about HIS own area ???????

    😀 😉 😀 😉 😀 😉 😀 😉 😀 😉

  • bo

    [quote]written by JoÀƒ£o da Silva, 2008-01-11 16:21:15

    Since you visit that paradise of Maceio quite often, I suggest you don’t forget your own advice[/quote]

    LOL…hear that. And let me tell ya, it ain’t easy!!! There are some very attractive Alagoanas!!! I used to date one several years ago. Very dangerous Alagoas, very jealous people. I think it’s because the Alagoana’s are so easy!! 😉 😉

  • Rod

    Cabra Macho?
    It’s not uncommon for Alogoanos to kill each other during normal traffic disputes. It’s very sad to watch these people kill each other like that

  • João da Silva

    Bo
    [quote]Whatever you do, don’t get caught looking at one of their girlfriends as that’s just cause for murder.[/quote]

    Since you visit that paradise of Maceio quite often, I suggest you don’t forget your own advice 😉

  • bo

    [quote]16 people were murdered in the city from 5 to 7 January.[/quote]

    And this is in a small city. I travel to Maceio frequently. It is very violent there. Alagoano’s are very agressive people. Whatever you do, don’t get caught looking at one of their girlfriends as that’s just cause for murder.

  • Yowser

    …danca do siri…
    More danca do siri will lead to less violence

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