Two young men, wearing hoods and carrying several weapons, opened fire at a school in southern Brazil on Wednesday, killing eight people before taking their own lives, the governor of Sao Paulo said.
The dead include six students and two teachers, and several other people were hospitalized with injuries, according to Gov. Joao Doria, speaking a few blocks from the public school in Suzano, a suburb of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city.
Gov. Joao Doria said the two attackers, who entered the building and started shooting around 9:30 a.m. local time, were believed to be between 20 and 25 years old. He said authorities don’t believe the two were former students.
The public school, Raul Brasil Professor (translated in English), has more than 1,600 students from elementary to high school grades, teachers gathered outside said.
Doria said the school had been evacuated and police were inspecting what appeared to be possible explosives left by the gunmen.
‘We heard 3 pops’
Students gathered outside the school recounted harrowing attacks and seeing several bodies lying in pools of blood.
“We were at recess and eating like normal, and we heard three pops, then we tried to run to jump over the walls,” Rosni Marcelo Grotliwed, 15, told G1 news portal.
“My friend was stabbed in the shoulder and my other friend was shot,” she said. “I escaped with one friend and went home and then came back to look for another friend.”
Horacio Pereira Nunes, a retiree whose house is next to the school, said he began hearing shots around 10 a.m.
“Then a lot of kids started running out, all screaming,” he said. “It didn’t take long until police arrived.”
Latin America’s largest nation has the largest number of annual homicides in the world, but school shootings are rare.
Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro recently announced gun ownership controls would be loosened.
The last major school shooting was in 2011, when 12 children were shot dead by a former pupil in Rio de Janeiro.
While gun laws are considered strict in Brazil, it is not difficult to illegally purchase a weapon.
This story originally appeared on CBC