SUZANO, Brazil – Two masked men armed with guns, knives, axes and crossbows descended on a school in southern Brazil on Wednesday, killing five students and two adults before taking their own lives, authorities said.
The men, identified as former students at the school in a suburb of Sao Paulo, also shot and killed the owner of a used-car business nearby before launching the attack on the school, authorities said.
Besides the five students, the dead included a teacher and a school administrator, said Joao Camilo Pires de Campos, the state's public secretary. Nine others were wounded in the school attack and hospitalized, he said.
“This is the saddest day of my life,” de Campos said, speaking to reporters outside the school in the Sao Paulo suburb of Suzano.
Authorities identified the attackers as 17-year-old Guilherme Taucci Monteiro and 25-year-old Henrique de Castro.
“The big question is: What was the motivation of these former students?” de Castro said.
Monteiro's mother, Tatiana Taucci, offered a possible answer, telling Band News that her son had been bullied at the school.
“Bullying, they call it. ... He stopped going to school ... because of this,” she said.
She said she was surprised by his involvement and found out about the attack from television.
Minutes before the attack, Monteiro had posted 26 photos on his Facebook page, included several with guns and one that showed him giving the middle finger as he looked into the camera.
In some of the photos, he wore a black scarf with a white imprint of a skull and cross bones. No text accompanied the posts. By Wednesday afternoon, Facebook had taken down Monteiro's page.
During the attack, Monteiro opened fire with a .38 caliber handgun and de Castro used a crossbow, de Campos said, adding that forensics would determine how each of the victims died.
The attackers were also carrying Molotov cocktails, knives and small axes, authorities said
“In 34 years as a policeman, it's the first time I see someone use a crossbow like that,” police Col. Marcelo Salles said. “It is horrendous.”