A horrified mother has told how her six-year-old daughter was shot dead by a policeman who had been drinking in a bar when he tackled a crook who had stolen her mobile phone.
Little Debora Vitoria Gomes Soares Batista died after she was shot in the abdomen outside her home in Teresina, Piaui State, Brazil on the night of 11th November.
Debora, her 14-year-old sister, and their mother had just arrived home by motorbike when two crooks who had been lying in wait jumped out.
One took the mother’s mobile phone at gunpoint, but a lieutenant from the Military Police who was drinking nearby noticed the commotion and intervened.
A shoot-out ensued and Debora was hit in the abdomen, while her mother – manicurist Dayane Gomes – took a bullet to the leg. The other girl was unscathed.
Debora was taken to Teresina Emergency Hospital, where she died shortly after admission.
Her mother was taken to the same facility, where she received treatment and was discharged a few hours later.
Dayane – who also has a son and a daughter, who were not present at the time – is reported to be out of danger.
She later took to social media to pay tribute to her killed daughter, writing: “Forever my angel! Girl of God, charming smile, happiness was your name, heaven welcomes you, you will always shine bright. We will love you forever, mama’s little baby.”
The crooks had fled the scene after the shoot-out, but police and security officers caught them nearby after a three-and-a-half-hour search.
One was named in reports as Clemilton.
Dayane has since alleged that the fatal bullet was fired not by either of the robbers but by the Military Police officer.
She told local media: “Every day he’s sitting there drinking. He came running over with the gun in his hand, and he [the robber] said, ‘Will you shoot? Will you shoot?’
“When he [the police officer] fired the first shot, I already knew that it had hit my daughter, she fell like this [sideways]. The crook hadn’t even drawn his gun.”
It was then that one of the robbers had allegedly drawn his gun and opened fire, hitting Dayane in the thigh.
She said of the lieutenant: “Why did he intervene over a mobile phone? He could have not intervened, I would give my motorbike, mobile phone, I would give everything to be able to have my daughter here with me now, I would give my life.”
Debora was buried in Teresina on 12th November.
Police are investigating the case.
They first said the fatal shot had been fired by one of the crooks, but later summoned the lieutenant in question to testify on 13th November. He reportedly failed to turn up at the police station.