Lázaro Barbosa: Brazil murder suspect dies in police shootout

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image copyrightReuters
image captionHundreds of officers combed the area for signs of Barbosa for almost three weeks

A man accused of murdering a family of four near the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, has been killed in a shootout with police, officers say.

Lázaro Barbosa, 32, had been the target of a 20-day manhunt which saw hundreds of police officers deployed.

Police say Barbosa killed a couple and their two sons, aged 15 and 21.

He also reportedly held people hostage during his three weeks on the run, set one home and several cars alight, and injured a police officer.

The search for Barbosa gripped Brazil and created a climate of fear in the area, with some residents saying they were afraid to go to sleep or leave their homes.

Police hunted down Barbosa in the early hours of the morning on Monday in the city of Águas Lindas, west of Brasilia.

Residents said they had spotted him late on Sunday and alerted police.

His photo had been widely circulated in the media since police began searching for him on 9 June, following the killing of the family of four near Brasilia.

According to news site G1, more than 270 officers as well as a helicopter and sniffer dogs were deployed to catch Barbosa.

image copyrightReuters
image captionSniffer dogs were used to hunt for Barbosa

G1 said he was shot after he had opened fire on the police who were closing in on him. Local media published a video of military police officers dragging a blood-stained Barbosa from the back of a vehicle into an ambulance. It is not clear if he was alive at that point. The officers can be seen cheering as the ambulance speeds away.

The governor of Goiás state, Ronaldo Caiado, praised the police for apprehending Barbosa. "Congratulations to our security forces. You give our people reason to be proud! Goiás is not a Disneyland for bandits," he wrote on Twitter.

Barbosa was known to police before they started to hunt for him earlier this month. He had been in and out of prison and had been found guilty of rape and robbery.

Most recently, in 2018, he had escaped from a jail in Águas Lindas through a hole in the ceiling along with three other inmates. He was the only one not to be recaptured.

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