Investigators discovered 9mm bullet casings, restricted for use by the military, military police and civil police forces, near the spot where assailants fired 20 rounds from a car at the Marisa Leticia camp (part of the larger Free Lula vigil) in Curitiba, Brazil, early Saturday morning.
Two people were injured in the attack, with one of them, Jefferson Lima de Menezes, said to be in serious condition with a bullet wound that penetrated his neck. Nobody has been arrested in connection to the armed assault.
Prior to August 2017, only the army and federal police were authorized to use 9mm bullets. Then, via a decision made by the Brazilian army, military and civil police forces, along with other security agents, were authorized to employ the firearm cartridge for personal use, according to Brasil 24/7.
According to eyewitnesses, the occupants of a car, which had arrived near the Marisa Leticia camp at 2:00 a.m. local time, shouted mottoes associated with Rio de Janeiro congressman and far right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro before gunshots were heard nearly two hours later.
Following the attack, the Free Lula camp released a public statement denouncing the “attempted murder” and “state of emergency that harms their right to mobilize.”
“We will continue our activities, struggle, schedule, and debates organized as part of the vigil. It becomes even more impressive, with each passing day, how, despite his incarceration, former president Lula's public image gains moral force and complaints against his unjust imprisonment increase," the camp's organizers said while calling for swift action by police to find the culprits and bring them to justice.
Speaking with reporters after the attack, Rio de Janeiro state senator, Lindbergh Farias, questioned the motives behind the attack. “What do they want, another Marielle?”
Last month, investigators revealed that 9mm bullets that killed Brazilian councilwoman and Black activist Marielle Franco, along with her driver, Anderson Gomes, were part of a lot bought by federal police in 2006. The ammunition was apparently stolen and has been used in more than 50 crimes since, a source told Reuters on condition of anonymity, because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.
Deemed a political assassination by many, nobody has been arrested in Marielle's execution on Mar. 15.