RIO DE JANEIRO – Two security guards were wounded on Wednesday in a shootout with bank robbers outside Rio de Janeiro City Hall, where the criminals attacked an armored car delivering money to a bank branch located inside the Brazilian city’s administration building, officials said.
“The bandits knew the time the money was delivered for the ATMs. Either they cased the place earlier or they got some information,” said the city’s public safety secretary, Paulo Cesar Amendola.
The shootout occurred as employees were arriving at businesses in downtown Rio, forcing dozens of people to run for their lives.
The bank robbers – at least five armed men – fled with a bag full of cash after opening fire on the security guards, who were taking the money to the bank branch that handles municipal accounts inside city hall.
The bank robbers had taken up positions on one of the terraces that surrounds city hall and left behind at least two ammunition clips for AK-47 assault rifles.
One guard was shot in the arm and the other in the leg, and they were transported to a nearby hospital, where they are listed in stable condition.
The guards, who had a revolver and a shotgun, did not stand a chance against criminals armed with assault rifles, Amendola said.
The bank robbery occurred a week after police seized 60 assault rifles, the majority of the weapons AK-47s, in a container that arrived at the Rio de Janeiro international airport from Miami.
Authorities have seized 250 assault rifles in Rio in the past 150 days.