14 People Shot in Brazilian Nightclub due to Drug-Related Violence
14 people have been shot and killed at the Forró do Gago nightclub in the coastal city of Fortaleza, situated in northern Brazil.
According to witnesses, at approximately 1:30 am the shooters pulled up to the nightclub in three seperate armed vehicles. Around 15 individuals were said to be spotted in the vehicles. The reigning TV network in Brazil, O Globo, reported the shooting is the deadliest to date.
Luckily, individuals who were at the nightclub were able to escape and find shelter in neighboring houses for the half-hour that the shooting went on.
It has been speculated that the shootings arose out of a rivalry between drug gangs, although most of the victims are believed to be innocent party-goers. The two gangs are named Guardioes do Estado (Guardians of the State) and Comando Vermelho (Red Commando).
The majority of the victims shot are young women aged 16 to 24 years old.
Andre Costa, the Security Secretary for the state of Ceara, has stated, “We can confirm 14 deaths.” At least 6 other individuals have been wounded. Costa went on to add: “There is no reason for panic and fear. It is a one-off event, as occurs all over the world.”
Despite Costa’s assuring remarks, there have been no arrests. It it is believed that certain witnesses are reluctant to provide further information out of fear of reprisals.
Perhaps, the shooting is not a “one-off event” as the state of Ceare, of which Fortaleza is the capital, estimates there are have 5000 killings just in 2017. Most of these killings are drug-related.
Some of the victims killed include Marisa Mara, a 37-year-old vendor who was selling hot dogs outside the club. Her 12-year-old son was wounded in the shooting. Another individual, 25-year-old Nataneal da Silva, an Uber driver who was dropping off a passenger, was also killed.
This shooting further highlights the ever-present problem of drug-related violence, which continues to plague not only Brazil, but much of Latin America.