Another football fan shot dead in Brazil

A football fan was killed in a weekend fight between rival

groups in central Brazil, the fourth fatality resulting from fan

violence in less than a month.

Authorities on Sunday said 23-year-old Diego Rodrigo Costa de

Jesus died after being shot in the back during a confrontation

between supporters from Goias and Vila Nova in the central city of

Goiania on Saturday.

Two Palmeiras fans were killed last week in a fight at Sao

Paulo, and a Guarani supporter died about two weeks ago about 100

kilometers away.

A series of incidents related to fan fighting at the beginning

of 2012 had already raised concerns with Brazil hosting the 2014

World Cup. Fan violence had appeared to be mostly under control in

the past few years but the recent surge has authorities scrambling

to find solutions for the change.

Police in Rio detained 60 Botafogo fans who reportedly were

waiting for buses carrying rival Fluminense fans near the Engenhao

stadium, where the teams played on Sunday. The group, including

about 10 minors, were carrying rocks and pieces of wood, according

to police. The fan group was not allowed to enter the Engenhao.

In southern Brazil, a few supporters from Gremio and Pelotas

invaded the field after the match and confronted each other and

police, but no serious injuries were reported.

Sunday’s death occurred in the same city where four Goias fans

were wounded by gunshots in January. De Jesus was also a Goias

supporter.

Authorities said Saturday’s fight began when the rival groups

ran into each other at a public park in Goiania. A Vila Nova fan

reportedly was armed and started shooting, and de Jesus was hit

while trying to run away. Police said de Jesus had a disability in

one of his legs and was not able to flee with his colleagues.

Authorities detained seven people accused of participating in

the fight on Saturday evening, but it wasn’t clear if the suspected

shooter was among those in custody.

Last Tuesday, 19-year-old Palmeiras supporter Guilherme Vinicius

Jovanelli Moreira was declared brain dead after injuries sustained

in a fight involving nearly 500 people just before a match between

Palmeiras and Corinthians on March 25.

A day earlier, 21-year-old Palmeiras fan Andre Alves was buried

after dying from a shot in the head in the same confrontation,

which also left a 23-year-old shot in the hip a 17-year-old

hospitalized with head injuries.

Police closed the headquarters of fan groups from Corinthians

and Palmeiras and detained a few people suspected in participating

in the fight. The fan groups also were prohibited from attending

matches.

There hadn’t been a death linked to fan violence in Brazil since

early last year, when a Corinthians supporter was killed after

reportedly being ambushed by Palmeiras fans. Police believe last

weekend’s fight came in retaliation for that death.

About two weeks ago, a 28-year-old fan of small club Guarani

died from head injuries after fighting with Ponte Preta supporters

in the city of Campinas.

Fan groups from the top Sao Paulo state clubs – Palmeiras,

Corinthians, Sao Paulo and Santos – have been involved in several

incidents before matches this year, but there have been recent

problems in other parts of the country too.

In addition to the four Goias fans wounded in a shooting in

January, other four were shot after a fight that left 80 people

detained in Rio de Janeiro late last year, and there were also

confrontations between rival groups in the northeastern state of

Bahia.

Another death related to fan violence in Brazil occurred in

November 2010, when a 19-year-old Cruzeiro fan was repeatedly

beaten with iron bars during a brawl between dozens of rival fans

in Belo Horizonte.

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