Brazil: Bus hijacking standoff ends after police shoot suspect

Four-hour standoff on busy bridge in Rio de Janeiro ends after police shoot dead man who they say hijacked commuter bus.

    Police officers stand guard near the area where a gunman who was holding a bus with 37 hostages was shot dead by police in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [Mauro Pimentel/AFP]
    Police officers stand guard near the area where a gunman who was holding a bus with 37 hostages was shot dead by police in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [Mauro Pimentel/AFP]

    Brazilian security forces in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday morning shot dead a man who they said hijacked a commuter bus on a bridge across Guanabara Bay and took more than three dozen hostages.

    None of the hostages was harmed during the four-hour standoff, Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witschel told reporters at the scene.

    The man armed with a gun and a knife took 37 people hostage around 5:30am.

    Police said hostages told them the man had spilt gasoline in the bus and was threatening to set it on fire.

    Hans Moreno, one of the hostages on board, said on Globo TV the man was not behaving aggressively and was "very calm". Moreno said the hijacker never explained the reasons for his actions.

    Brazil bus hijacking
    Drivers and motorcyclists wait for a bridge to be reopened after a gunman who was holding a bus with 37 hostages was shot dead by police in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [Douglas Magno/AFP]  

    Witschel congratulated the police for an "exemplary performance" in a Twitter post but said he regretted the death of the hijacker.

    The bridge that connects state capital Rio with the city of Niteroi across the bay is a major commuter
    thoroughfare, and the hijacking during the morning rush hour triggered travel chaos in the area.

    TV images showed massive traffic jams on the bridge, which was swarming with armed security officials.

    SOURCE: News agencies