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Police raid slum, leaving 7 dead, including 3-year-old boy

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Posted: January 11, 2008 2:30 p.m.
Updated: January 26, 2008 5:00 a.m.
    SAO PAULO, Brazil — A police anti-drug raid in one of Rio de Janeiro’s largest shantytowns set off fierce gunbattles that left at least seven people dead, including a 3-year-old boy caught in the crossfire, officials said Friday.
    At least 50 heavily armed policemen entered the Jacarezinho slum Thursday afternoon to search for drugs and arrest suspected dealers, a spokesman for Rio’s Public Safety Department said. He declined to be identified according to department policy.
    Police were met by gunfire, and in the ensuing shootouts — which lasted until dawn Friday — three bullets struck and killed 3-year-old Wesley Damiao Saturnino Barretos. It was not immediately clear who fired the shots.
    Six people were wounded during the raid, including a police officer shot in the leg.
    Another firefight between police and drug traffickers broke out early Friday in the Vila Cruzeiro shantytown. Local media reported that three suspected criminals were killed, but the spokesman said he could not confirm those numbers.
    A record 1,260 civilians died in clashes with police in Rio de Janeiro state last year, according to a report released this week by the Rio de Janeiro State Institute of Public Safety. Most killings occurred during ‘‘acts of resistance’’ — police jargon for armed confrontations with civilians.
    The tally only includes figures reported by police stations that have computers — omitting about one-third of precincts from the total.

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