Police Kill Bus Hijacker in Rio

Hijacker evoked Bus 174, which shocked Brazil in 2000

A Rio de Janeiro Military police officer killed hijacking suspect Willian Augusto da Silva, who had invaded a 38-passenger bus on one of Brazil's best-known bridges. 

No hostages were injured.

The criminal action and police operation, which was televised, lasted almost four hours, attracted international attention and achieved an outcome celebrated by the President of the Republic, Jair Bolsonaro (PSL), and Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witzel ( PSC)— hardline police advocates.

The hijacker's motivation was not entirely clear. 

The criminal action and police operation was televised and lasted almost four hours (Foto: TV Globo/Divulgação) - Reproducao/TV GLOBO

"He said he wanted state money. Not our money," said Professor Hanz Miller, 34, one of the hostages.

According to Miller, Silva says he intended to repeat another televised kidnapping in Rio, the bus 174, in 2000, which led to the death of Sandro Barbosa do Nascimento and hostage Geísa Firmo Gonçalves after more than five hours of negotiations. The episode would become a documentary by José Padilha, director of "Tropa de Elite."

"Willian [Silva] just said he wanted to go down in history; we were going to have a lot of history to tell. He just said that," Miller said later.

Silva, who was drinking steadily and claiming to "keep up the adrenaline," according to the hostages, chose one of the passengers to tie the rest. Still, some managed to send messages to family members.

The hijacker would only leave the bus at about 9 am, with police and TV cameras around him. He wore a mask and, according to remaining hostages, wanted to deliver items from one of the passengers just released.

He threw a jacket at the cops and waved. That was when the police, under the instruction of the Bope commander, Lieutenant Colonel Maurilio Nunes, decided to shoot. After two hours of negotiation, psychologists summoned to the scene had concluded that the kidnapper had a "psychotic profile" and was unstable.

The kidnapper was taken to the Souza Aguiar hospital in downtown Rio. During the treatment, he had a cardiac arrest and died.

It was only after the outcome that Governor Witzel landed at the crime scene, celebrating with effusive gestures the conclusion of the police action with the dead suspect and no wounded hostages.

Experts say the police action was correct.

The hijacker's family members report that he had depression and spent a lot of time on the internet.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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