HOSTAGE DRAMA in Rio De Janeiro: 37 People Held Hostage by Armed Gunman

An armed man who took dozens of people hostage on a highway in Brazil was shot dead by police in an early morning standoff that lasted four hours, according to reports.

Fortunately, the hostages were all freed unharmed, according to Bloomberg.

The incident began at 5:30 AM on Tuesday morning when police were called about a man who had a knife and a gun on a bridge linking a suburb to downtown Rio.

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During the standoff, the man splashed gasoline inside the bus and threatened to set the vehicle on fire.

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The attacker claimed he was himself a police officer and according to witnesses he acted very calm during the standoff. That claim has not been substantiated.

“I want to thank the police for its work,” said Rio’s state Gov. Wilson Witzel, adding that the incident “is happening in communities. They have rifles in the communities, terrorizing the communities.”

The suburb, Sao Gonçalo, is a poor area separated from the rest of Rio by Guanabara Bay. The suburb is beset by gang violence.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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