SUZANO, Brazil — Two younger males who stormed their former faculty in southern Brazil armed with a gun, crossbows and axes, killing seven folks, had been attempting to emulate the 1999 Columbine assault in Colorado and had been planning the assault for months, police stated Thursday.

Associates and former classmates advised investigators that 17-year-old Guilherme Taucci Monteiro and 25-year-old Henrique de Castro had been obsessive about the assault on Columbine Excessive Faculty, Sao Paulo civil police director Ruy Ferraz advised a information convention. He stated the pair had been planning the assault since at the least November.

Ferraz stated the acquaintances stated they didn’t imagine the assault would really occur, or feared that telling anybody would make them targets.

The Colombine assault, additionally undertaken by two closely armed younger males, left 13 useless. And as in Wednesday’s rampage, the Columbine assailants took their very own lives.

Monteiro and de Castro “needed to show they may act like in Columbine Excessive Faculty with cruelty and with a tragic character so that they may very well be extra acknowledged than” even the Columbine killers, Ferraz stated

Ferraz stated a 3rd particular person, a 17-year-old former scholar on the faculty, had been concerned in planning however was not current on the faculty when the assault occurred.

He didn’t determine the confederate however stated police have requested a decide to situation a warrant for the teenager’s arrest.

The developments got here hours after classmates, mates and family of the victims started saying goodbye throughout a mass wake within the Sao Paulo suburb of Suzano, the place the assault occurred.

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Earlier than launching the college assault, police stated the assailants shot and killed Monteiro’s uncle, who owned a used-car dealership close by. Monteiro had labored on the dealership, however had been fired by his uncle for petty crimes.

What occurred subsequent on the Okay-12 faculty, partially caught on surveillance digital camera footage on the constructing’s entrance and extensively distributed in Brazil, was stomach-churning.

It confirmed Monteiro getting into and capturing a number of folks within the head as they tried to run away. De Castro adopted, first putting wounded folks with an ax after which swinging it wildly whereas scores of scholars ran previous him. De Castro then armed his crossbow and walked farther into the college.

The useless included 5 college students, a instructor and a college administrator. 9 others had been wounded within the assault, together with seven nonetheless hospitalized Thursday.

“I couldn’t sleep. I’ve two kids at school and they’re concerning the age of the victims,” stated Wanda Augusta, a 46-year-old homemaker attending the wake.

“If solely we might have recognized the difficulties of those boys” earlier than the assault, stated Rossieli Soares, the state training secretary, who attended the wake at a volleyball area. “This can be a downside in our society.”

Police seized computer systems and notebooks from the properties of the 2 attackers, who had been neighbors and lived lower than a mile (kilometer) from the college. In addition they took computer systems from an arcade close to the college that the attackers frequented.

Whereas Latin America’s largest nation has deep issues with violence — it’s the world chief in annual homicides — faculty shootings like these within the U.S. are uncommon. Wednesday’s assault reminded many Brazilians of an assault in 2011, when a gunman roamed the halls of a Rio de Janeiro faculty and killed 12 college students.

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Joao Camilo Pires de Campos, Sao Paulo state’s public safety secretary, summed up what was on the minds of many Brazilians.

“The massive query is: What was the motivation of those former college students?” he advised reporters Wednesday.

Monteiro’s mom, Tatiana Taucci, provided a attainable partial reply, saying that her son had been bullied on the faculty.

“Bullying, they name it. … He stopped going to high school … due to this,” she advised the Band Information TV community.

Nonetheless, she stated she was as shocked as anybody by her son’s involvement within the assault, which she stated she heard about on tv like everybody else.

Ferraz, the police director, stated that whereas bullying had been talked about in some testimony from acquaintances, they didn’t imagine it to be significant to the investigation.

Minutes earlier than the college rampage, Monteiro posted 26 images on his Fb web page, together with a number of with a gun and one which confirmed him giving the center finger as he seemed into the digital camera.

In a number of the images, he wore a black scarf with a white imprint of a cranium and cross bones. No textual content accompanied the posts.

Throughout the assault, Monteiro opened hearth with a .38 caliber handgun and de Castro used a crossbow, de Campos stated.

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The attackers had been additionally carrying Molotov cocktails, knives and small axes, authorities stated.

One of many wounded, Jose Vitor, ran to a hospital near the college with an ax nonetheless lodged in his proper shoulder.

“He’s an agile adolescent,” his mom, Sandra Regina Ramos, advised reporters exterior the hospital. “He reacted rapidly.”

The assailants had been attempting to drive their method inside a room in the back of the college the place many college students had been hiding when police arrived. As a substitute of going through the officers, Monteiro shot de Castro within the head after which shot himself, authorities stated.

Katia Sastre, a police officer who was elected to Congress after a video confirmed her gunning down an armed robber exterior her daughter’s faculty went viral final yr, known as on authorities to supply higher safety at faculties.

“This might have been prevented if upstanding residents had been in a position to defend themselves and bear arms,” stated Sastre, who’s a former scholar on the faculty attacked Wednesday.

The talk over whether or not to increase entry to weapons, a precedence of President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration, was current in lots of the public statements by politicians. Quickly after his Jan. 1 inauguration, Bolsonaro issued a decree making it simpler to purchase a gun. His celebration plans to place ahead laws that might go even additional, loosening restrictions on carrying and the quantity and forms of firearms Brazilians can personal.

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Prengaman reported from Rio de Janeiro. Anna Jean Kaiser contributed reporting from Rio de Janeiro.

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