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Hatchet-wielding man kills four children at Brazil day-care center, authorities say


SÃO PAULO — Four children were killed by a hatchet-wielding man at a day-care center in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina on Wednesday, authorities said. At least five other people were injured in the assault, which came amid rising concern about the increasing frequency of attacks on schools in Latin America’s largest nation.

“It is with great sadness that I receive the regrettable news that the Cantinho do Bom Pastor private day-care center, in Blumenau, has been invaded by an assassin who attacked children and employees,” Jorginho Mello, Santa Catarina state governor, wrote on Twitter. “Unfortunately four did not resist and died.”

Military police said a 25-year-old man rode a motorcycle to the day-care center in Blumenau, 370 miles southeast of São Paulo, before 10 a.m. and attacked the children on the facility’s playground. Three boys and a girl between the ages of 4 and 7 were killed.

The man then rode to a police station, surrendered and was taken into custody, authorities said.

He did not have any apparent connection to the day-care center and his motives are unknown, authorities said. They did not release his name or other details.

The Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported that he worked as a delivery person for a grocery store but hadn’t shown up for work in the past two weeks.

The attack occurred less than 10 days after a teacher was stabbed to death at a school in São Paulo. In that incident, a 13-year-old student is accused of stabbing three teachers and a student.

Of 24 attacks on schools in Brazil in which people were killed or wounded since 2002, 15 have occurred since 2019. Forty-five people, including 31 students and seven teachers, have been killed.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva condemned the assault Wednesday as a “monstrosity” and an “absurd act of hate and cowardice.”

“There is no greater pain than that of a family that loses its children or grandchildren,” he wrote on social media. “Even more so in an act of violence against innocent and defenseless children.”

Lula’s government said it would create a working group to discuss a culture of peace and nonviolence, to be headed by the Ministry of Education.

Ulisses Gabriel, the police delegate for Santa Caterina, said authorities are investigating whether other people helped plan or execute the attack.

“The Police Station for the Repression of Computer Crimes has expertise in securing telephone and computer data,” Gabriel said. “We want to identify if there are any other participants. If anyone else participated. How he hatched this plan. Where did he get information.”

Later Wednesday, Gabriel called the attack an “isolated action,” not coordinated or related to any game or online challenge.

“This is important to emphasize to prevent news from being spread throughout Santa Catarina causing panic,” he said.


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