Report: More than 20 masked men broke into the hospital carrying assault rifles
Group was trying to free a drug kingpin who was in the hospital after a shootout with police
Rio de Janeiro’s largest public hospital and one of the five designated to treat tourists during the upcoming Summer Olympic Games was attacked by armed gunmen during the weekend, leaving one person dead and two injured.
The attack deals another blow to a city struggling to show it’s ready to host the games.
The raid took place early Sunday morning at the Souza Aguiar hospital. According to local authorities, the group was trying to free an alleged drug kingpin known as “Fat Family,” who had been taken to the hospital a week ago following a shootout with police and was under police surveillance.
According to state news agency Agencia Brasil, more than 20 men broke into the hospital carrying assault rifles and hand grenades and wearing masks to cover their faces.
Ana Paula dos Santos was in the hospital visiting her grandmother on the same floor when the raid took place.
“I heard a loud explosion and saw gangsters and police officers running through the hallways,” Dos Santos told CNN Monday. “I heard a lot of gunshots.”
According to dos Santos, there were two police officers outside the suspect’s room before the raid occurred.
The gang succeeded in freeing the kingpin, Agencia Brasil reported.
Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes called the incident “scary and unacceptable” and said he wanted to meet with state officials.
In addition to being selected as one of the main emergency facilities for tourists visiting during the Olympic Games, the Souza Aguiar hospital is also the closest unit to Maracana Stadium, the city’s football arena that will host the Rio 2016 opening ceremony on August 5th.
The attack also came after Rio de Janeiro state governor Francisco Dornelles issued an executive order last week declaring a state of emergency and requesting additional funding to fulfill fiscal obligations during the games, including paying overtime for military police officer and completing a subway line.