A 5-year-old girl was buried in Rio de Janeiro on Monday, two days after she was fatally shot as shantytown residents protested against alleged police violence.
Eloáh Passos died when she was hit by a gunshot at her home in the Morro do Dende, one of Rio’s most violent areas. Passos’ neighbors allege the shot that killed her came from one of the policemen who tried to block a local protest against the death of a 17-year-old boy earlier in the day.
Rio police said in a statement they would investigate the girl’s death.
The child’s father, Gilgrês dos Santos da Silva, 31, carried her small casket to her grave in a northern Rio cemetery as local residents applauded, cried for justice and released fireworks in respect to the girl’s death.
“I don’t know who did it. I just know that my daughter’s life was taken,” da Silva told journalists after the burial.
Wendell Eduardo de Almeida, 17, was killed Saturday after he allegedly refused to stop his motorbike at a police checkpoint in the same shantytown. Rio police said he was taken down during an exchange of gunfire. The teenager was buried Sunday.
Antônio Carlos Costa, a founder of the Rio de Paz human rights non-profit organization, attended the burial showing a Brazilian flag with holes as if it had been showered with gunshots. He said 14 children were killed by stray bullets in Rio state between January of last year and August of this year.
“Most of them had their lives ended as police and criminals exchanged gunfire,” Costa said. He added that he wants to meet with Rio Gov. Claudio Castro to discuss the state’s policing strategies.