The 12 military police officers who participated in the action that resulted in the death of young Kathlen Romeu, 24, last Tuesday (8), were removed from service in the streets.
Pregnant, the woman was shot in one of the access roads to Complexo do Lins, in the northern part of Rio de Janeiro. The family accuses officers of having fired the shot that killed Kathlen, while agents say they were shot at by criminals.
The action is being investigated by the Capital Homicide Precinct, the Civil Police, the Coordination of the Pacification Police, the Military Police, and the Public Ministry of Rio de Janeiro.
This Friday morning (11), Kathlen’s family members went to the Civil Police to testify. The police station is also listening to the police involved in the case.
According to the G1 portal, Corporal Marcos Felipe da Silva Salviano told the Civil Police that he shot five times with a rifle, and his colleague, Corporal Rodrigo Correia de Frias, twice. He said that other UPP teams also took part in the action, but he could not say whether other police officers also shot.
The report of the IML (Institute of Legal Medicine) concluded that Kathlen was hit by only one shot from a rifle, which transfixed her chest.
The fact that the bullet was not lodged in the body, as confirmed by the police, could make it difficult to search for the person who fired the shot. Without it, it will not be possible to conduct a ballistic confrontation test with the 21 weapons seized from 12 police officers who participated in the action — ten 7.62-caliber rifles, two 5.56-caliber rifles and nine .40 pistols.
Witnesses told the Human Rights Commission of the OAB-RJ (Brazilian Bar Association) that they saw a group of several police officers pass by shooting in an alley in the community moments before the young woman was shot.
These residents reported seeing events before and after the girl was shot, but none of them witnessed the exact moment of the shot that killed her.
Some of these people claimed to have seen agents inside a house, waiting to catch drug dealers by surprise. The dynamics of the facts, however, are still unclear.
The Military Police’s version is another. According to the corporation, there was no operation, and UPP agents were “shot by armed criminals in an unexpected and inconsequential manner” in a place known as Beco da 14, where there was a confrontation. “After the shooting ceased, the military found an injured woman and rescued her at the hospital,” the corporation said in a statement.
Kathlen and her grandmother, Sayonara de Oliveira, were walking together along one of the community’s access roads, when gunshots were heard and the girl fell. On Wednesday (9), the grandmother told the press that the police did not want to help her.
“They’re saying they helped my granddaughter. It wasn’t […] I got up and said: people, stop shooting, help my granddaughter. They helped me because I screamed, they didn’t even want me to go in the car with her,” she said.
Kathlen’s mother, Jacklline Lopes, accused police of her daughter’s death. “If my daughter was killed by a criminal, I wouldn’t say anything, because I know I live in a place where I couldn’t speak, so I would stay in mine. But it wasn’t, it was the police who killed my daughter,” he said.