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Thursday, November 4, 1999 Published at 18:14 GMT


World: Americas

Two die in Brazilian cinema shooting

Sao Paulo is used to drug-related killings

By Stephen Cviic in Sao Paulo

A man who shot dead two people in a cinema on Wednesday night is being questioned by police in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo.

Mateus Meira got up in the middle of the American film Fight Club and opened fire with an Uzi submachine gun, apparently at random.

Four other people were injured and are now recovering in hospital.

The incident took place at a cinema inside a shopping centre in one of Sao Paulo's wealthiest suburbs.

About 40 people had gathered to watch the film, which shows a group of people who fight for pleasure.

The 24-year-old medical student managed to fire more than 50 rounds before he was overpowered by unarmed security guards. After that he offered no resistance.

Personality disorder

One of the two people who died - a 25-year-old photographer, was sitting beside her boyfriend, who is now recovering from his injuries in hospital.

Later, Mr Meira told police that he had been planning the crime for seven years.

Over the past couple of months he has been receiving treatment for a personality disorder.

Sao Paulo is a violent city and multiple killings are all too frequent. But most of them take place in poor areas and are linked to drug trafficking and organised crime.

This apparently motiveless shooting involving a student from a wealthy background is virtually unprecedented in Brazil and is bound to lead to speculation that Mr Meira was trying to copy recent similar incidents in the United States.



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