July 23, 2003, in São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil
Da Costa, a photographer with the weekly Época, was killed while on assignment in the city of São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo State.
The 36-year-old photographer, who was known professionally as La Costa, and Época reporter Alexandre Mansur were covering the occupation by homeless families of an empty lot belonging to a Volkswagen auto factory in São Bernardo do Campo. The homeless families, who numbered in the thousands and had been organized by the Movement of Homeless Workers (MTST), had been camping at the site since July 19 to demand housing and jobs from the state and federal governments.
At around 3 p.m., while MTST leaders were talking to the journalists, three men who had just robbed a nearby gas station entered the campsite brandishing handguns. One of them shot da Costa in the chest at close range. The journalist was then taken to the São Bernardo Municipal Hospital but died shortly after.
Based on eyewitness testimony and several pictures taken at the scene of the shooting by photographer André Porto, of the newspaper Agora São Paulo, police were able to identify da Costa's suspected attackers, two of whom were captured on July 30.
The same day, police announced that one of the suspects had confessed to shooting da Costa accidentally while aiming at his camera, Época reported. The suspect also told police that the three men thought da Costa had taken pictures of the robbery at the gas station. The police believe that da Costa was targeted deliberately, according to Época.
Época is owned by Editora Globo S.A., part of the giant media group Organizações Globo.
Beats Covered: Human Rights
Local or Foreign: Local
Type of Death: Murder
Suspected Source of Fire: Criminal Group
Taken Captive: No
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