A high ranking military officer allegedly stabbed his ex-girlfriend and shot three people to death in a Brazilian church before he was taken down by police.
Lieutenant Colonel Rudson Aragão Guimarães, 39, was allegedly high on drugs when he launched his killing spree in Paracatu, south east Brazil, on Tuesday night.
Witnesses claimed the accused, described as ‘deranged and speaking incoherently’ burst into the church shouting that he had ‘returned from hell and had a mission to fulfill’.
Police patrolling the neighborhood shot the suspect in the chest before he was taken to hospital. Officers claimed he still had six bullets left and appeared intent on using them to assassinate others.
These churchgoers in Paracatu, south east Brazil, were in a prayer circle before alleged gunman Rudson Aragão Guimarães walked in
He opened fire on the group as they fled, killing three church members. The pastor, Evandro Rama, survived the attack, but fractured his ankle jumping a wall while fleeing the gunman
Lieutenant Colonel Guimarães, pictured, was allegedly high on drugs when he reportedly launched his killing spree
The victims, three women and a man, have been named as the accused’s former partner, Heloísa Vieira, 59, and church members, Rosangela Albernaz, 50, a restaurant owner; Marilene Neves, 52, a grandmother and dinner lady and pensioner Antonio Rama, 67, the father of the minister of the Shalom Baptist Church.
The pastor, Evandro Rama, survived the attack, but fractured his ankle jumping a wall while fleeing the gunman.
Moments before storming the church, Guimarães allegedly stabbed his former girlfriend in the neck with a penknife at his mother’s house.
The victim was visiting her ex-boyfriend’s family when he arrived and apparently attacked without warning.
It’s believed he left the crime scene on foot and headed to the chapel where security cameras spot him arriving around 6.45pm.
Officers said the date on the cameras which display May 20 was wrong because of a programming fault.
Guimarães allegedly had six more rounds in his weapon, pictured, that he intended to use before officers shot him
Pensioner Antonio Rama, 67, the father of the minister of the Shalom Baptist Church, and Rosangela Albernaz, 50, a restaurant owner, were both killed in the attack
Before attacking the church he is said to have stabbed his ex-girlfriend Heloísa Vieira, pictured
He is seen forcing open the front doors, breaking off a metal panel in the process and bursting into the building, apparently brandishing a 36. gauge pistol and shouting he had come to kill the pastor.
Lieutenant colonel Luiz Magalhães, Paracatu military police, said: ‘We’re still unclear about the motive of the attacks. According to Rudson’s relatives, there had been no disagreement between him and his former girlfriend.
‘But when he arrived at his mother’s house he seemed to be in a strange state of mind and without any apparent reason suddenly became angry and rammed [Heloísa] in the neck with a penknife.’
The victim, who worked as a course instructor for various companies, died instantly. The suspect’s mother and sister were unharmed.
The police chief said: ‘[Rudson] then headed to the Shalom Baptist Church and broke open the doors which had been locked.
‘Those present told us he seemed disorientated and was rambling incoherently and shouting he had come from hell with a mission to fulfill that included killing the minister.’
Video images taken inside the church show a group of about 20 parishioners, with children present, in a prayer circle at the front.
They scatter as the suspect enters and the pastor, who had apparently been threatened before by the accused, makes a run for it.
Lieutenant colonel Luiz Magalhães said of Guimarães (pictured): ‘Everything seems to indicate that this was a psychotic outbreak. Officers shot the suspect to protect other people in the church’
Officers neutralised the suspect with a single bullet to the chest, hitting him just under his collar bone
Two of the victims were reportedly shot at random as they tried to escape before a passing patrol car, hearing gunfire, responded rapidly.
The third victim was grabbed as a hostage by the accused the moment officers arrived but shot in the head before any negotiations for her release could begin.
Officers neutralised the suspect with a single bullet to the chest, hitting him just under his collar bone.
Brazilian media Correio Brazilense reported that the military man, who served in the airforce, complained of hearing voices and had been attending the church before but may have been barred because of his alleged drug problems and erratic behaviour.
Lt col Magalhães said: ‘Everything seems to indicate that this was a psychotic outbreak.
‘Officers shot the suspect to protect other people in the church. There was still about 20 on the scene and he had six more rounds intact. If they had not arrived on time, the situation could have been far worse.’
Investigators said they have ruled out a crime of passion, which had mistakenly linked the former girlfriend with the pastor in earlier reports.
They are now examining the relationships between the accused and the victims.
Detective Marcelo Santos said to Brazilian media G1: ‘Witnesses said the pastor had been threatened by (Rudson) for some time. Our line of investigation is to find out why there appears to have been disagreements and why he made these threats.’
The accused underwent emergency surgery during which doctors said he suffered two cardiac arrests. He has been admitted to intensive care in a critical condition.
Lawyers for the accused were sought for a comment but none was forthcoming.