October 18, 2010, in Caicó, Brazil
A gunman on a motorcycle shot Gomes, 46, at least five times in front of his home in the Paraíba neighborhood of Caicó, Rio Grande do Norte state, news reports said. The journalist, shot around 9 p.m., was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
A day after the murder, state police arrested a man identified as João Francisco dos Santos, local news media reported. Police said dos Santos had admitted killing Gomes in reprisal for the reporter's coverage of his 2007 armed robbery conviction. Despite the suspect's reported statement, state police said they were still investigating the case and had not ruled out further leads. In an interview with the Natal-based daily Tribuna do Norte, state prosecutor Geraldo Rufino said he believed that dos Santos was a hired assassin. Brazilian media quoted Gomes' relatives and friends as saying they believed drug traffickers had ordered the killing.
In December, investigators said dos Santos had been hired by Vladir Souza do Nascimento, a convicted felon serving a prison sentence for drug trafficking. News reports quoted investigators as saying that Gomes' coverage had hindered criminal activities being run by Souza from prison. Prosecutors requested that Souza be prosecuted for masterminding the murder, news accounts said.
Gomes, news director of local broadcaster Radio Caicó, had reported on a variety of local topics, including government corruption, crime, and drug trafficking, according to local news accounts. He also published stories on a personal blog. In September, Gomes broke a story on vote-tampering in Rio Grande do Norte while covering the Brazilian general elections. The story, which described local politicians buying votes in exchange for crack cocaine, was picked up nationwide, according to Portal Imprensa, a Sao Paulo-based news site focused on press issues. Soon after the piece aired, Gomes received anonymous death threats, news reports said.
Medium: Radio, Internet
Job: Broadcast Reporter, Editor, Internet Reporter
Beats Covered: Corruption, Crime, Politics
Local or Foreign: Local
Type of Death: Murder
Suspected Source of Fire: Criminal Group
Taken Captive: No
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