Nine people were trampled to death in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo on Sunday, when authorities chasing two suspects encountered attendees at a street fair, police said.
A 14-year-old boy, one woman and seven men were killed in Paraisopolis, a poor neighborhood in Sao Paulo, Channel News Asia reported.
Police were carrying out an operation when two suspects on motorcycles attacked officials and opened gunfire. Police gave chase and the suspects entered the “funk party” — which had roughly 5,000 attendees — setting off a stampede, police said.
As the gunfire from the suspects continued, police responded by firing rubber bullets and chemical weapons, Police spokesman Emerson Massera said, as reported by Reuters.
In addition to the nine people trampled and killed during the chaos, another seven were taken to the hospital for injuries.
Family and neighbors of the victims challenged statements by police. They allege that exits in the dance area were blocked by authorities, and that police used tear gas while some claim they were beaten by officers.
Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria, in a statement on social media Sunday, said he “deeply” regrets the deaths and that the incident will be investigated.
The suspects escaped during the police chase.