Patient killed in shootout at hospital earmarked for Rio Olympics duty

Patient killed in shootout at hospital earmarked for Rio Olympics duty

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A group of heavily armed men stormed a Rio de Janeiro hospital to free a suspected drug trafficker, sparking a shootout with police that left a patient dead and a nurse and an off-duty policeman wounded.

The attack took place at Hospital Souza Aguiar, one of the medical facilities recommended for tourists seeking emergency treatment during the upcoming Olympic Games.

At least five attackers stormed the hospital before dawn to rescue the 28-year-old suspect, who was being treated for a gunshot wound, Rio police said. As many as 15 other gunmen were outside during the attack, witnesses told police.

Investigators are studying security camera footage, and Rivaldo Barbosa, head of the state’s homicide unit, said two of the assailants had been identified.

“This was a carefully orchestrated attack,” Mr Barbosa told reporters outside the hospital. “It was a bold action that will not go unpunished. It is unacceptable.”

Souza Aguiar is one of five hospitals designated by the city to treat tourists during the sporting event because of its proximity to the Maracana Stadium, site of the opening ceremony on August 5.

Rio de Janeiro state declared a financial disaster on Friday largely because revenues from oil royalties have plummeted as a result of low crude prices.

The government wants more freedom to manage scarce resources in areas such as public safety, health care and education as it wraps up Olympic projects and beefs up tourist services during the games.

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