Witnesses said they saw a group of several police officers pass by shooting in an alley in Complexo do Lins, in the north of Rio de Janeiro, moments before 24-year-old interior designer Kathlen Romeu, who was 24 years old and pregnant, was shot and killed in this one. Tuesday (8).
The reports of five people were collected by the Human Rights Commission of the OAB-RJ (Brazilian Bar Association) in the community itself, but for now they are all afraid to testify to the city’s Homicide Police, according to lawyer Rodrigo Mondego.
“We are now going to enter into a process of convincing them to testify. People are very afraid. First they say they are going to talk, but then it is natural for relatives to advise them against. For now, no one wants to talk,” he says.
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. The tragedy occurred in the afternoon, during business hours, when the day was still clear and the movement in the favela was intense.
According to Mondego, witnesses said the atmosphere was calm when a garrison of military police from the UPP (Pacifying Police Unit) —they did not know how many, but there were “many”, they say— who were at the top of the hill went down the hill. alley, all along the same path, already firing.
Some of these people claimed to have seen agents inside a house, “spying” to catch drug dealers by surprise. The dynamics of the facts, however, are still unclear. It is possible that there were several teams operating in different locations, for example.
The Military Police’s version is another. According to the corporation, there was no operation, and UPP agents were shot and attacked in a place known as Beco da 14, where there was a confrontation: “After the shooting stopped, the military found an injured woman and rescued her in hospital.”
Kathlen and her grandmother, Sayonara de Oliveira, were walking together along one of the community’s access roads, almost outside the favela, when shots were heard and the girl fell. The grandmother thought that the granddaughter had bent down to protect herself, but soon afterwards she saw a large amount of blood on her arm.
Initially he thought she had been hit in that part of her body. The blood, however, came from the chest, where the bullet passed through. Mondego says that the family has not yet had access to the autopsy report, which will indicate the exact path of the bullet.
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.
According to Mondego, part of the witnesses heard by the OAB corroborates Sayonara’s report that the agents initially did not want to help Kathlen. “They’re saying they helped my granddaughter. It wasn’t […] I got up and said: people, stop shooting, help my granddaughter. They helped because I screamed, they didn’t even want me to go in the car with her,” she declared to the press on Wednesday (9).
The grandmother only gave a preliminary statement in a room of the Homicide Division located at the IML (Institute for Legal Medicine) and should formally go to the police station this Thursday (10). The Civil Police informed that, in addition to it, 5 of the 12 police officers who participated in the action have already been heard and other witnesses are being called.
According to the G1, Corporal Marcos Felipe da Silva Salviano told the police station 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.
According to the newspaper O Globo, the agents altered the death scene, despite the fact that the Military Police announced that the place was preserved. They allegedly took to the police station exploded 9 millimeter cases, intact ammunition of a 9 millimeter pistol and a 5.56 rifle, and drugs.
When the forensics arrived in the community, they found no traces, only blood on the street floor. He also found no witnesses who witnessed the events, according to the newspaper. Asked about these events, the Civil Police did not respond.