At least 14 people were killed in an early Saturday shootout at a nightclub in Fortaleza, in northeastern Brazil, officials said.
“We can confirm 14 deaths,” Andre Costa, security secretary for the state of Ceara — of which Fortaleza is the capital — told a press conference.
Costa said that other victims were hospitalized in serious condition, but did not give a number.
A spokesperson from the Institut Jose Frota hospital told AFP that six people, including a 12-year-old boy, had been rushed in for emergency care.
The shooting broke out at 1:30 am when a group of armed men arrived in three vehicles at the Forro do Gago nightclub in Fortaleza’s Cajazeiras neighbourhood.
“It’s a brutal scene, a massacre. Something you never see in Ceara,” a police officer, who asked to remain anonymous, told news website G1.
Local media reported that the shootout was a clash between members of two rival drug trafficking gangs.
Officials, however, remained tight-lipped. “The investigation is still ongoing,” Costa said.
On January 7, a war between drug gangs already claimed four lives in the suburbs of Fortaleza.
Last year there was a record 5,114 murders in the state of Ceara, a 50 percent rise from 2016.