Helio Vieira, 37, a member of Brazil’s elite National Force was killed Wednesday when he took a wrong turn into the Complexo da Mare’ , a slum area of northern Rio de Janeiro . Vieira’s mistake turned deadly when his unit came under fire.
The military vehicle Vieira was driving was sprayed by bullets and he was shot in the head. He was taken to a nearby hospital and underwent a four-hour surgery. He remained in critical condition before succumbing to his wounds earlier today. Two other Soldiers were also hit by the spray of bullets. Both are expected to recover from their injuries.
Rio is known for its favelas, massive slums that rival Mumbai for their size and lawlessness. The gangs and drug-related crime in the favelas have long been one of the biggest concerns for visitors to Brazil’s second largest city. Gang activity is so brutal that law enforcement officers refuse to go into the areas.
Eighty-five thousand Soldiers have been deployed to Rio to provide security for the Olympic Games. The military force is in addition to local police and private security hired to patrol near the Olympic venues.
Operations continue to bring the killer of Helio Vieira to justice. Today was designated as a national day of mourning for the slain Soldier.