Brazil police: 2 men arrested in killing of Marielle Franco

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 14, 2019

They showed CCTV footage to reporters that tracked the vehicle in which prosecutors said Lessa and De Queiroz drove from the wealthy suburbs of western Rio across the city to downtown, where the suspects waited for two hours outside a meeting that Franco was attending about empowering black women. She was killed a year ago in a drive-by shooting, along with her driver, Anderson Gomes. As was rumored by the investigation, both men were previously affiliated to the Military Police of Rio de Janeiro.

The suspects were identified as Ronnie Lessa, 48, a retired military police officer, and Elcio Vieira de Queiroz, 46, who was sacked from a police force in 2015 for reasons that authorities did not release. Lessa and Queiroz. While scouring the residence of the former, police found dismantled assault rifles alongside ammunition, raising the suspicion that the firearms were intended for sale. She added that Lessa told police he had been tipped off about their raid. Lessa allegedly shot Franco and De Queiroz allegedly drove a auto involved in the shooting, the spokesman said. While driving with a friend, he was shot at by an unidentified individual riding a motorcycle. "We are calling for the Brazilian authorities to ensure that investigations are independent and impartial, and to bring all those responsible, including those who ordered the crime, to justice in fair trials".

"Treat it as another misstep made by the police and courts", he said.

The odd connections between Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and two former military police suspected of murdering activist Marielle Franco are coincidences, cops have claimed after taking almost a year to arrest the men. Thirteen gunshots were then fired from the Cobalt.

The fact that suspect #2 - Ronnie Lessa - lives in the same condo complex as Bolsonaro in the upscale Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of Barra de Tijuca is also a coincidence, the police said, claiming it has "little to do with the Marielle affair".

While Witzel praised police and investigators for the arrests, the case highlighted deep corruption in the police forces, including connections to militias, paramilitary groups that control large swaths of the state. "Marielle defended minorities, black women, LGBT and other minority causes".

Flavio Bolsonaro, a son of the Brazilian president, has been accused of having ties to Rio's militias while he was a Rio state lawmaker.

This article was updated on March 12, 2019, at 14:55, to include information given by police chief Giniton Lages. The final report of the inquiry led to the indictment of 226 people, and Marcelo Freixo has traveled with bodyguards ever since.

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