Brazil: Police Fatally Shoot Rio Bus Hostage-Taker

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -
A Federal Highway Police officer indicates the way back to drivers unable to reach a bridge to Rio de Janeiro during a hostage standoff on Aug. 20 that ended with the hostage-taker’s death. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Rio de Janeiro’s state governor says an armed man who took dozens of hostages on a bus has died after being shot by police following a four-hour long standoff.

Gov. Wilson Witzel said the hostages were freed after Tuesday’s incident. The man armed with a gun and a knife took 37 people hostage around 5:30 a.m. on a busy bridge linking the suburb of Sao Gonçalo to downtown Rio de Janeiro.

Six hostages were released in the first few hours and police said they told authorities the man had spilled gasoline in the bus and threatened to set it on fire. Officials said the man had identified himself as a policeman but that they were not able to confirm this information.

Hans Moreno, one of the hostages on board, said the man was not behaving in an aggressive way and was “very calm.”

The man had not made any particular demands and appeared to have “psychological problems,” a spokesperson for the traffic police said.

Rio’s elite police force known as BOPE was in charge of the negotiations. A sniper was placed nearby. Traffic has been blocked in both directions on the bridge, with hundreds of vehicles waiting in line.

São Gonçalo is a violent, impoverished suburb separated from Rio by Guanabara Bay. Many use the bridge to go to and from work.