A police operation on Tuesday morning in the Rio de Janeiro favela of Vila Cruzeiro has left at least 11 people dead and two injured. Led by special forces unit Bope and the federal highway police, this morning’s raid was reportedly a planned incursion to find and arrest high-ranking drug bosses hiding out in the community, situated to the north of Rio de Janeiro.
Residents say gunfire began at around 4 am this morning. The police confirmed that ten of the unidentified victims were suspects. Gabriele Ferreira da Cunha, 41, was killed by a stray bullet and was the 11th victim. She had been at the entrance to the Chatuba favela, adjacent to Vila Cruzeiro.
Part of the so-called Complexo da Penha, a cluster of 13 favelas in the north of the city, Vila Cruzeiro has been witness to a series of bloody clashes with law enforcement in recent years.
A military police operation there in February left eight dead, while the favela was also the scene of a massive Army and Marine Corps incursion in November 2010, in which helicopter footage of suspects fleeing through the adjacent woods was broadcast live to TV stations around the world.