Minute of silence for victims of campus shooting

Friday, April 8, 2011

Rio de Janeiro - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has asked the nation to observe a minute of silence to pay respect to the victims of a campus shooting at Tasso da Silveira school in Rio de Janeiro, on Thursday.

She made the request during a ceremony in Brasilia.

A gunman had entered an elementary school in Rio earlier in the day and shot dead 12 children and then turned the gun on himself.

Among the dead were 10 girls and two boys, all between the ages of 12 and 15. At least 11 children were injured and taken to hospitals. 

The gunman has been identified as 23-year-old Wellington Oliveira, who entered the Tasso da Silveira school in a working-class neighborhood in western Rio at about 8am (1100 GMT) under the pretext of giving a speech.

As the school was celebrating its 40th anniversary, some former students were to deliver speeches. As a former student himself, Oliveira was granted access to the building without difficulties.

He carried in his bag two .38 revolvers and equipment to quickly reload the weapons, which he reportedly did several times.

Some 400 children were in the school at the time of the attack.

According to witnesses and doctors, Oliveira entered an eighth grade class and opened fire at the students, mainly at girls.

He kept shooting at students in several classrooms, causing chaos and despair among the children. According to some survivors, many children passed out, and others tried to escape. - BuaNews-Xinhua