Clashes rage in Rio as police try to capture drug trafficker

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Police attempts to recapture a drug trafficker who escaped from a Brazilian hospital have led to deadly gun battles in the slums of Rio de Janeiro.

Ten people have been killed and about 50 schools have been shuttered over the past nine days, the O Globo newspaper reported Wednesday. Police would not immediately confirm the death toll, but said they had deployed 27 battalions of military police to various areas, including downtown and the touristy southern area of the city.

Nicolas Labre Pereira, nicknamed ''Fat Family,'' was freed on June 19 when assailants stormed one of the hospitals recommended for tourists traveling to the Olympic Games. The raid to free the 28-year-old suspect left a patient dead and a nurse and an off-duty policeman wounded.

The violence is adding to worries about safety in Rio during the Olympics, which begin in August. Officials warn that budget shortfalls may compromise security during the sporting event.

Last weekend, an off-duty bodyguard for Rio's mayor was shot dead in an apparent mugging and a 34-year-old doctor was killed in her car on a main expressway. Earlier this month, members of the Australian Paralympic team were mugged at gunpoint.

An estimated 85,000 police and soldiers will be patrolling the streets during the Olympics and Paralympics, but Rio de Janeiro's acting governor says the state is still waiting for a 2.9 billion Brazilian real ($860 million) payout from the federal government that is earmarked for security efforts.

''The financial aspect is the big problem of Rio's public safety strategy,'' said Andrei Rodrigues, a top security official at the Justice Ministry who is responsible for big events.

Killings have increased this year from 1,818 to 2,036 in the first four months compared to the same months in 2015, according to a state tally that counts murders, officer-involved deaths and deaths as a result of robberies.


Associated Press writer Mauricio Savarese contributed to this report from Rio de Janeiro.