| GEO World|
One killed, hostages released in Rio hotel shootout
| Updated at: 0045 PST, Sunday, August 22, 2010|
RIO DE JANEIRO: Heavily armed criminals briefly took 35 people hostage at an upscale hotel Saturday after a street battle with police that left one person dead and dramatized the security challenges for the host of the 2016 Olympic Games.
The hostages were released unharmed when police cornered the criminals inside the hotel kitchen.
Seven people were wounded by gunfire and nine suspects were arrested, police said.
"Unfortunately in Rio we have drug traffickers with barbaric tendencies, and when they run into the police these things happen," said Jose Mariano Beltrame, head of Public Safety for the state of Rio de Janeiro.
The incident began when officers on patrol early Saturday near Rocinha, the city's most populous 'favela,' or shanty town, ran into "criminals" in vehicles and motorcycles, police spokesman Colonel Lima Castro told a radio.
"There was a shootout, and two police officers were slightly wounded," Castro said.
Amateur images of the incident taken from nearby buildings and broadcast on local TV showed scores of people running down the street screaming, some fleeing and others waving their weapons and firing.