Teenager Shot Dead by Police in Complexo do Alemão

A 17-year-old student was shot dead in Complexo do Alemão on Saturday September 27. According to witnesses, Marcos Heleno was shot by police and was left to agonize on the sidewalk until the ambulance arrived an hour later. He died in hospital.

Marcos is the third young man killed in four months of unrest in Complexo do Alemão. Witnesses allege once he was shot down, the police did not allow anyone near to help, which led to his bleeding on the pavement.

“A working man was hit in Praça do Conhecimento,” a witness posted online. “He is agonizing and the police is pepper spraying anyone who tries to help. He is going to die because no one can help. He is one more innocent person.”

A video posted by the community’s internationally-recognized newspaper Voz da Comunidade shows Marcos on a stretcher, being taken to the hospital to the sound of desperate screams from his family.

“Marcos Heleno, 17, student of Colégio Estadual CAIC Teophilo de Souza Pinto, in Nova Brasília, was shot this afternoon in Complexo do Alemão,” reported Voz da Comunidade. “The community is tense, the cable car services are suspended until further notice.”

Residents of Alemão took to social media to speak out about the event and complain about the current state of their community.

Maria, one reader of Voz da Comunidade wrote: “There is no respect for residents of Complexo do Alemão. We are living a war, with no right to come and go. God, we are in your hands so no one else dies!”

A few residents blamed Marcos Heleno for getting involved with the wrong crowd, although there has been no indication from the authorities he was involved in any criminal activity: “I was born and raised in Alemão, I had family support, always studied in the same public schools everyone goes to. Even so, I never got mixed with anyone I shouldn’t. Life is made of choices,”  wrote Luana.

Others blamed the Pacifying Police Unit (UPP) policemen for the killing of young black men in the favelas. “They are human beings and they shouldn’t be treated this way,” wrote Lais. “Unprepared policemen go to the streets without knowing what has to be done, with the objective of killing. When will this stop?”

Juliana added: “Down with make-up from the government. We can’t stand it anymore! First it was Dona Dalva, then Caio, then Antonio and now Markinhos… When will this end? Complexo is begging for peace!”

The disappointment with the UPPs was apparent in several postings. Young Lucas wrote, “What this UPP is doing here is not cool. People we love are dying. People, this isn’t a pacifying unit, it’s a killing unit. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.”

Some residents also mentioned the upcoming elections, some advising people not to vote, others saying voting is essential for a change in public policy. “We have to make ourselves heard, we should protest on election day by not voting,”  wrote Irys.

A community Facebook page posted a print screen of mocking comments allegedly made by military policemen on a photo of Marcos. One of the messages reads: “Wake up, satan, fresh meat is here. Lol”