The Olympics opening ceremonies occurred only days ago, but Rio de Janeiro has already been the scene of some outrageous criminal scenarios, placing athletes, officers, and even top-ranked security officials in the line of fire.
Longtime residents of Rio de Janeiro, cariocas, know their city is a hotbed of violent crime. So do Brazil’s officials, who have lamented to international media objecting to the consistent reports of gun deaths that “historically, that is how Rio de Janeiro is.” Yet the show must go on, and as the days go by, officials and Olympians alike are finding that the violence is not limited to the city’s famed favelas, and that local robbers are as dangerous as fellow athletes and police officers themselves. Below are five criminal events that have occurred in the past week.
A Stray Bullet Made Its Way into an Olympic Equestrian Press Conference
A press conference on Sunday to update reporters on the status of the Olympic equestrian competition was interrupted by a bullet piercing the venue tent. There is no evidence that the shooter attempted to attack equestrian athletes, and police have not identified where the bullet came from. They did narrow it down, however. Defense Minister Raul Jungmann offered reporters, “One hypothesis is that someone who felt they were being filmed and observed made the shot.” The bullet may also have been meant for a nearby military complex.
One rapidly discarded theory: the bullet came from a nearby shooting competition. Whoever shot it was definitely not supposed to be shooting, police confirmed.
A Firefighter was Raped by a Security Officer in the Olympic Village While She Slept
This incident occurred before the Olympics technically started, on July 31, when most athletes had already settled into their living headquarters and begun training. The firefighter, too, had gone to sleep after a series of 12-hour workdays in her quarters on the Olympic campus when she was interrupted by a security officer. “I woke up with him kissing me and stroking me, almost lying on top of me,” the unidentified firefighter told Brazilian TV, stating she was too tired to physically remove him from her.
An Olympic Flag-Bearing Athlete Was Expelled from the Olympic Village for Attempted Rape
Police are not the only rape threat within the Olympic Village; athletes, too, have been arrested for attempting to rape women on site.
Two Olympic boxers have been removed from the Olympic village for attempted rape: Moroccan Hassan Saada, who reportedly attempted to rape two maids working at the complex, and Namibian Jonas Junias Jonas, who also allegedly attempted to rape a housekeeper. Both have been taken out of the village and imprisoned. Jonas was the flagbearer for his country during the Olympic opening games; he will not be allowed to compete.
The Portuguese Minister of Education Was Mugged – and Saved by Cariocas
Portuguese Education Minister Tiago Brandão Rodrigues was leaving an Olympic cycling event Saturday night with his spokeswoman, when a man attacked him, brandishing knives and taking some of his valuables, including his mobile phone. Rodrigues was fortunate not to lose a thing in the attack, however, because local Brazilians saw the incident, tackled the main assailant, and beat him until they managed to retrieve his belongings. The attacker was hospitalized following the incident.
“It was just a scare,” Rodrigues told reporters, saying it did not take away from his enjoyment of the Games.
The Olympics Head of Security Was Robbed at Knifepoint
If robbers did not spare foreign ministers, it was inevitable they would attack Brazilian officials, as well. Felipe Seixas, the security coordinator for special events in Brazil – which makes him the head of the Olympics security – was also robbed at gunpoint. Seixas was accompanied by two undercover police, however, who quickly shot one of the assailants dead. Seeing the man killed, the other robbers fled. They have not been caught.