Three people were killed and 11 others wounded, when a gunman opened fire at two schools in southeastern Brazil on Friday, authorities said.
The attacks happened around 10 a.m. local time (1300 GMT) in the small town of Aracruz, located some 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Vitoria, the capital of Espirito Santo state.
Local media said the shooter barged onto the campuses, one a public school with elementary and middle students, the other a private school located on the same street
Mayor Luis Carlos Coutinho told radio network CBN that “criminals” attacked the first school early Friday, with a lone gunman opening fire on several teachers, killing two women and wounding nine other people.
After the first shooting, the same gunman opened fire at another school, killing an adolescent girl and wounding two other people, Coutinho added.
Officials said the shooter was armed with a semiautomatic pistol and wore military attire and a bulletproof vest.
Espirito Santo public security secretary Marcio Celente said that the gunman had gained access to the teachers’ lounge at the public school after breaking a lock.
The shooter had covered his face, making it difficult to identify him, Celente added.
The gunman, a 16-year-old, was later arrested, Governor Renato Casagrande told a news conference, adding that he was a former student at the first school.
“We have information he was undergoing psychiatric treatment,” Casagrande added.
One injured person had to be taken by helicopter to Serra, a larger city located some about 60 km south of Aracruz.
The public security office said in a statement that police and rescue workers were taking care of those injured while continuing to search for the shooter.
President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called the shootings an “absurd tragedy,” and extended his support to the local governor to investigate the case and comfort the local communities.
His vice president-elect Geraldo Alckmin said he was appalled by the shootings.
“I send my solidarity to the school communities, the families and the victims’ friends,” he wrote on Twitter, calling for a “swift investigation and prevention to stop tragedies like this from happening again.”
The pair are due to take office on January 1 after campaigning in Brazil’s presidential election against far-right Jair Bolsonaro’s dramatic curbs on gun-control laws.
Espirito Santo Governor Renato Casagrande also expressed his condolences to the victims’ families and said that all local security forces had been engaged in the probe.
School shootings are relatively rare in Brazil, despite high levels of gun crime,
The South American country’s deadliest school shooting occurred in 2011, leaving 12 children dead after a man opened fire at his former elementary school in the Rio de Janeiro suburb of Realengo.