Bank robbery shootout in Brazil kills 14

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Forensic officers load the body of a victim killed in an attempted bank robbery, at an entrance of a municipal hospital in Milagres, in Brazil's state of Ceara, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. (AP)
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Policemen stand in front of the Banco do Brasil branch after a shootout between police and bank robbers, in Milagres, Brazil December 7, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 08 December 2018
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Bank robbery shootout in Brazil kills 14

  • A heavily armed group arrived in the town in the early hours and went to the center of town, where they tried to commit the crime

BRASILIA: Fourteen people including six hostages were killed early on Friday in a shootout between police and bank robbers attempting to blow up ATMs at two banks in a small town in northeastern Brazil, authorities said.
Most of the deaths occurred when police opened fire on the robbers at the bank branches on the main street in Milagres in the interior of Ceará state, a statement by the governor’s office said.
Five of the alleged gang members died in the night-time shootout shortly after 2 a.m local time, two died in hospital of bullet wounds and an eighth was gunned down in a police pursuit, it said.
Six people who had been taken hostage on a local highway that the gang blocked with a trailer truck also died in the shootout, the statement said. It said three suspects have been arrested by police.
Local media reported that five of the dead hostages were from the same family, including two children aged 14 and 13.
The attempted robbery was interrupted by a police unit that had been tracking a gang responsible for similar bank robberies in the area. 


Unspeakable grief: A husband, wife and three children wiped out in Sri Lanka

Updated 5 min 7 sec ago
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Unspeakable grief: A husband, wife and three children wiped out in Sri Lanka

  • The Gomez family gather for funeral of a husband and wife and their three sons
  • They were brutally killed as they attended Easter Sunday Mass at Colombo’s St. Joseph’s Shrine

COLOMBO: The dark wooden coffins, sitting side by side, attested to one family’s unspeakable grief.
The Gomez family gathered Tuesday to say a final farewell to five loved ones — a son, a daughter-in-law and three young grandsons — brutally killed as they attended Easter Sunday Mass at Colombo’s St. Joseph’s Shrine.
“All family, all generation, is lost,” said Joseph Gomez, the family patriarch, as tears welled in his eyes. Dozens of family members and neighbors were gathered in his simple home, where the sound of hymns sung by mourners gently wafted in the background and candles flickered beside three coffins. The bodies of two grandsons have yet to be recovered.
Across Sri Lanka, Tuesday was a national day of mourning as families began to lay to rest the more than 320 victims of the bomb blasts that struck a half-dozen churches and hotels in the island nation.
For the Gomez family, the loss was unfathomable: A 33-year-old son, Berlington Joseph, the young man’s 31-year-old wife Chandrika Arumugam, and their three boys, 9-year-old Bevon, 6-year-old Clavon and baby Avon, who would have turned 1 next week. A funeral card with a photo of the family clutched in his hands, the elder Gomez wailed: “I can’t bear this on me, I can’t bear this.”
“My eldest son, my eldest son,” he sobbed as he laid bouquets of red roses and brightly colored daisies on the largest coffin. Next to it was a tiny coffin, a photo of little Avon tucked into a wooden frame nearby.
The coffins, draped with long white tassels, were then carried to a Colombo cemetery and lowered into side-by-side graves.
At St. Joseph’s Shrine, dozens of mourners gathered outside, lighting candles and praying in unison for the victims of Sunday’s blasts as heavily armed soldiers stood guard.
At St. Sebastian Church in Negombo, a funeral service was held Tuesday for victims killed there as they worshipped, led by Cardinal Malcom Ranjith. The church was heavily guarded by hundreds of army, air force and police troops, and soldiers were deployed every 15 feet along the streets of the city some 20 miles north of Colombo.
Throughout the country, people observed a three-minute silence for the victims of the near-simultaneous attacks at three churches and three luxury hotels, and three other related blasts, the deadliest violence to strike Sri Lanka in a decade.
The Sri Lankan government has blamed the attack on National Towheed Jamaar, a little-known local extremist group, and on Tuesday, the Daesh group also claimed responsibility, though it provided no proof it was involved and has made unsubstantiated claims in the past.