Lázaro Barbosa: Brazilian Police Kill "DF Serial Killer" After 20 Days of Hunting | International

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Police officers participate in the search for the serial murderer Lázaro Barbosa, on June 22 in Goias, Brazil.ADRIANO MACHADO / Reuters

The police hunt that mobilized the attention of Brazilians for 20 days came to an end this Monday. Lázaro Barbosa, 32, accused of 11 murders, including four members of the same family, was shot by soldiers in the city of Águas Lindas, in Goiás.


The attention paid to Lázaro, who entered the forests and caused terror in the interior of the state of Goiás, intensified after he was identified by the Federal District Police as the author of the massacre of a family, in a crime that remembered the novel Cold-bloodedby the writer Truman Capote. Published in 1967, Capote's work recounts the life and gruesome deaths of four members of the rancher Herb Clutter's family in the western Kansas town of Holcomb.

In the chronology described by the police and made famous by police news, Lázaro became the most wanted man in the country after being accused of killing 48-year-old cattle farmer Cláudio Vidal de Oliveira and his two sons, Gustavo Marques Vidal, 21 years old, and Carlos Eduardo Marques Vidal, 15 years old, on June 10. After leaving the bodies in a room, Lázaro allegedly kidnapped and murdered the youths' mother, Cleonice Marques de Andrade, 43. His body was found on June 13 near a stream.

According to the state governor, Ronaldo Caiado, Barbosa, known in Brazil as the “DF serial killer”, died as a result of a gunshot wound to the groin. However, the Ministry of Health reported at least 38 shots in the body of the fugitive.

At the risk that the criminal would continue to commit murders, the Secretary of Public Security, Rodney Miranda, set up a headquarters to organize the siege of the criminal. As Miranda said, in repeated and tumultuous press conferences in front of the school used as a crisis cabinet, some 270 police officers, helicopters, drones and sniffer dogs were deployed behind Lázaro.

The search did not take long to animate the political field and provoke jealousy between the governor of the Federal District, Ibaneis Rocha, and the governor of Goiás, Caiado. Ibaneis claimed that the security forces were being taken "for fools." Caiado, for his part, reacted: "Don't you dare disrespect the Goiás policemen."

Caiado governs one of the states most visited – 17 times – by President Jair Bolsonaro, two of them while the police were searching for the fugitive. The story of the serial murderer also fed the armament discourse promoted by Bolsonarism. On the 17th, Bolsonaro proudly said: “There is a maniac in the DF and Goiás region committing atrocities, killing people, raping … This element tried to enter a farm and was repelled because the man had a twelve-gauge in his inside". And he added: “The bandits are armed, you don't have peace even inside your house. I cannot sleep, despite the enormous security here in the Government Palace, without having a weapon by my side ”.

Lázaro's story further agitated Bolsonarista agendas when it was found that the fugitive had benefited from a temporary departure during Holy Week in 2016, from which he never returned. Since then, the killer's fame grew.

Bolsonaro celebrated Barbosa's death on Twitter: “CPF canceled,” he wrote, replicating police jargon used when a defendant dies and his document (CPF) is no longer useful. The Brazilian president's tweet was shared more than 32,000 times. "One less to intimidate good families," said Bolsonaro.

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