Brazil Bank Robbery Shoot Out Death Toll Rises To 14

A shootout between police and bank robbers attempting to blow up ATMs has killed 14 people, including six hostages.

Most of the deaths occurred when police opened fire on the robbers at the two bank branches on the main street in Milagres, a small town in northeastern Brazil, a statement by the governor's office said

Five of the alleged gang members died in the night-time shootout shortly after 2am on Friday, two died in hospital of bullet wounds and an eighth was gunned down in a police pursuit, it said.

Police officers guard the exterior of a bank after a shooting, in Milagres, Brazil, 07 December 2018. Image: EPA/NORMANDO SORACLES

Six people who had been taken hostage on a local highway that the gang blocked with a trailer truck also died in the shootout, the statement said. It said three suspects have been arrested by police.

Local media reported that five of the dead hostages were from the same family, including two children aged 14 and 13.

The attempted robbery was interrupted by a police unit that had been tracking a gang responsible for similar bank robberies in the area.

Fourteen people died during the shootout. Image: Getty Images.

The G1 news website, quoting Milagres Mayor Lielson Landim, reported that the five dead hostages belonged to the same family. Their car had been hijacked on a nearby highway and taken into town by the armed gang.

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Forensic officers load the body of a victim killed in an attempted bank robbery, at an entrance of a municipal hospital in Milagres.  Image: Antonio Rodrigues/Diario do Nordeste via AP

Broadcaster GloboNews said it was the family of a local businessman and that two suspects had been arrested by police.

The gang escaped in two vans without taking any money, G1 said. A local press report said the body of one bank robber was found in an abandoned vehicle.

Police were searching for gang members with the help of a helicopter, the mayor's office said.

Featured Image: Reuters