Gunman holding bus passengers hostage killed in Brazil`s Rio de Janeiro

Brazilian police believe a man is holding dozens of people hostage on a public bus in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 20 2019

Brazilian police believe a man is holding dozens of people hostage on a public bus in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 20 2019

Traffic was blocked in both directions on the usually busy bridge, with hundreds of vehicles waiting in line.

He released two hostages, then another two, and then two more, separately.

Dozens of people were trapped on the bus on a heavily transited bridge connecting Rio with the neighboring city of Niteroi after it was commandeered by the man, who police said was also carrying a stun gun, lighter and plastic bottle filled with gasoline.

The people were held hostage on the President Costa e Silva Bridge, commonly known as the Rio-Niteroi Bridge, according to a local website Brasil 247.

All the hostages were freed unharmed on an 8-mile bridge that offers a sweeping view of Rio de Janeiro's Sugarloaf Mountain and the statue of Christ the Redeemer.

None of the hostages was harmed during the four-hour standoff, Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witschel told reporters at the scene. "Our officers are trained and have great practical experience in this type of situations", the police said.

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A tweet issued by military police confirms that a sniper shot the man and that no hostages were harmed during the incident.

The man has not made any particular demands and appears to have "psychological problems", a spokesperson for the traffic police said on TV Globo. He is a political ally of President Jair Bolsonaro, whose successful election platform past year included a pledge to get tough on crime.

Several shots were heard when police killed the man, and journalists and others in the area ducked to the ground.

The hijacker was armed with a pistol and a knife, said Hans Moreno, a passenger on the bus. Witzel said there was a "strong smell of gasoline" when he went inside the bus after the hostage-taker was killed. The crossing, which is about nine miles long, connects the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Niterói.

The armed man earlier freed six hostages, CNN affiliate Record TV reported.

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