Brazil Mass Shooters Were Imitating Columbine Attack, Police Say

Two men who shot up their former school in Southern Brazil on Wednesday sought to emulate the 1999 Columbine shooting in the U.S. and planned the attack months in advance, authorities said Thursday. According to the Associated Press, Sao Paulo civil police director Ruy Ferrazhe told reporters that friends and ex-classmates of 17-year-old Guilherme Taucci Monteiro and 25-year-old Henrique de Castro told police the two were “obsessed” with the Columbine High School shooting. Those who knew of their obsession reportedly did not alert authorities because they didn't think the attack would happen, or they were afraid they could become targets themselves. Ferrazhe said the pair, along with a third accomplice who was not present at the attack, had been planning it since November. The two allegedly wanted to gain even more notoriety than the Columbine attackers did, and took their own lives just as the Columbine shooters did. The third accomplice, a 17-year-old, was reportedly not identified—but authorities have asked a judge to issue an arrest warrant.

The attackers reportedly killed Monteiro's uncle before going to their former school and killing five students, a teacher and a school official. Nine others were reportedly wounded—with seven still in the hospital as of Thursday.