RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A federal prison guard and alleged supporter of President Jair Bolsonaro killed a local official from the leftist Workers’ Party in the Brazilian state of Parana, according to state police. The shooting death comes ahead of a highly polarized presidential election in October.
On Saturday night, Jorge Jose da Rocha turned up uninvited at the birthday party of local Workers’ Party official, Marcelo Arruda, and shot him, Parana state police said. Citing several witnesses, police said Da Rocha had shouted his support for Bolsonaro before firing at the victim.
During the assault, Arruda, also a municipal guard, fired back at the attacker, who is now in hospital, the state’s public security secretary said.
Politicians condemned the attack.
“The Brazilian people are a people of peace. And we need to regain normalcy in our country,” former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva wrote on Twitter on Monday. Da Silva is expected to run against Bolsonaro in October.
Gleisi Hoffmann, leader of the Workers’ Party, lamented “a tragedy resulting from the intolerance of those people,” and shared several photos of Arruda, a father of four, on his birthday party wearing a black T-shirt with an image of Da Silva.
Bolsonaro condemned the attack. “We are against any act of violence,” he said in a Monday interview at the presidential palace in Brasilia, according to newspaper O Globo. Bolsonaro reminded reporters that he was knifed and nearly died on the campaign trail in 2018.
But the far-right president also repeatedly accused the left of stoking political violence.