A soldier guarding the Olympic Games was killed and at least two of his comrades wounded when their car was sprayed with bullets after mistakenly entering a drug lord-controlled slum.
The soldier, from the elite Forca Nacional (National Force) was shot in the head as he drove a marked pickup truck into one of the city’s most dangerous shantytowns by mistake.
He was taken to hospital but local reports said he died of his wounds. Brazilian police and military had yet to confirm his death on Wednesday evening.
Photographs from the scene showed the aftermath of the attack on the vehicle, in the Vila do Joao favela, which is close to the city’s international airport.
Drugs gangsters who control the slum reportedly opened fire on the soldiers, at least one of them an officer, after they found themselves inside the notorious shanty town, close to Rio’s international airport.
It is believed the soldiers, who are not familiar with the city, may have mistakenly entered the slum while trying to turn around as they drove along the main expressway into Rio, known as the Yellow Line.
At least three and possibly four soldiers were hit by bullets, but Helio Vieira, who was driving, was shot in the head as gangsters sprayed their camouflaged army truck with bullets.
Vieira, from Brazil’s northern Roraima state, was rushed to Rio’s Salgado Filho hospital in a critial condition and rushed into surgery where, according to some reports, he died.
This has not yet been confirmed by the hospital or military. His rank has not been disclosed.
Another soldier, known only as Rafael, from the northeastern state of Piaui, who despite being injured helped rescue his colleagues, is also in the hospital in a state of shock.
A third soldier, Captain Allen Marcos Rodrigues Ferreira, from the northern state of Acre, was also injured by a bullet and taken to the Evandre Freire hospital, where he is recovering.
In a video which was shared on social networks, taken at the moment the team were being rescued by the Lamsa police unit responsible for the Yellow Line expressway, Helio is seen bleeding yet apparently conscious, moving his arms and legs.
One of the soldiers also recorded an audio, before the rescue team arrived, which was also shared on social network sites, in which he says: ‘I was hit.
‘Captain Allen was hit. The driver was hit. Another was also shot and was outside the vehicle.
‘A taxi driver is helping us and is taking me to hospital. The driver entered the Vila do Joao and the guys started shooting and hit the vehicle.
‘I think the driver was shot from the front, because he wasn’t able to get himself out of the truck.’
According to the Forca Nacional, soldiers have secured the entrance to the favela, where investigations are being carried out.
Murders in the favela are hardly uncommon – especially if people enter it in error.
This article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.